Son of PLA singer faces rape trial

Son of PLA singer faces rape trial
Li Tianyi, son of Li Shuangjiang, a general of the Chinese People's Liberation Army who gained fame singing revolutional songs, performs during his solo concert at a odeum of China National Orchestra in Beijing, August 19, 2011.

BEIJING - The teenage son of a well-known People's Liberation Army (PLA) singer goes on trial on Wednesday suspected of involvement in a gang rape in a case that has inflamed public anger.

Li Tianyi, 17, is among five men accused of sexually assaulting a woman in a Beijing hotel in February, according to Chinese media.

His father is Li Shuangjiang of the PLA, who is a singer known for performing patriotic songs on television shows and at official events.

Li's mother, Meng Ge, is a famous singer in the PLA.

It is not the teenager's first brush with the law. In 2011, he drove a BMW into another car in Beijing, beat up the couple inside the vehicle and then scoffed at bystanders about calling the police.

He was sentenced to a year in a juvenile correctional facility and his father made a public apology.

The latest case has dominated headlines for weeks, focusing attention again.

"The general public is worried that his family, because of their relationships and power, will be able to use their connections," said Zhang Ming, a politics professor at Renmin University.

In July, hackers attacked the website of one of the law firms representing Li, saying: "We just want to return justice to the client."

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