Gang rape trial eclipsed by outcry over justice

By Ni Tao
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Shanghai Daily, July 18, 2013
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Li Tianyi (right) performs with his parents, both famous singers, at a holiday concert in 2011. [China Daily]

Li Tianyi (right) performs with his parents, both famous singers, at a holiday concert in 2011. [China Daily]

The trial of Li Tianyi, son of decorated army singer Li Shuangjiang, and several accomplices - accused of gang-raping a young woman - is underway.

But instead of focusing on that high-profile case, our attention is drawn to a row unfolding in the virtual world.

Reports that Li's defense attorney entered a plea of not guilty sparked a social media furor and many people questioned the lawyer's moral compass.

Moreover, the lawyer's personal weibo account was flooded with virulent abuse by vigilantes.

In fairness, the attorney should not be harassed for doing his job, even if he is seeking to acquit a villainous brat who allegedly committed a grievous crime.

At this point, a Tsinghua University law professor entered the fray, deflecting public rage from a fellow legal professional and making himself a target of fury.

Yi Yanyou, an associate professor, said on his weibo on Monday that it causes less harm to rape a bar hostess than a "decent" girl. His post immediately enraged the public, as well as the victim's mother who countered that her daughter was not a bar hostess.

The online conflagration forced Yi to tone down his remarks a bit - or did he? In a posting yesterday, he simply reworded his previous remarks.

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