Chinese legal expert in hot water over ‘less harmful’ rape comments

AFP-JIJI

A legal expert at a top Chinese university has inflamed controversy over a gang-rape case by calling the act less harmful if the victim was a bar hostess.

Charges last week against Li Tianyi, the 17-year-old son of an army general, tapped into growing popular resentment at perceived privilege for elite families.

Li’s family members were reported as saying the alleged victim may have worked at the bar that the teenager and his friends were visiting — prompting Yi Yanyou, a law professor at the prestigious Tsinghua University in Beijing, to wade into the debate.

“Stressing the woman was a bar hostess is not to say that raping bar hostesses is OK, but that the likelihood that a bar hostess is willing to engage in sex is greater,” he said on the microblog Sina Weibo.

“Even if it was rape, the harm of raping a bar hostess is less than raping a woman from a good family,” he said.

The post was not visible on his account Wednesday, but media outlets shared images of it and many Weibo users vented their fury.