The police in Beijing said Saturday they had detained Kris Wu, a popular Canadian Chinese singer, on suspicion of rape amid a #MeToo controversy that has set off outrage in China.
The police did not provide details of their investigation into Wu. But it comes several weeks after an 18-year-old university student in Beijing accused him of enticing young women like herself with the promise of career opportunities, then pressuring them into having sex.
Known in China as Wu Yifan, Wu, 30, is the most prominent figure in China to be detained over #MeToo allegations.
He rose to fame as a member of the Korean pop band EXO, then started a successful solo career as a model, actor and singer. Although he denied the allegations when they first surfaced, they set off an uproar that led at least a dozen companies, including Bulgari, Louis Vuitton and Porsche, to sever ties with the singer.
The Chaoyang District branch of the Beijing police said in a statement on social media Saturday night that it had been looking into accusations posted online that Wu “repeatedly deceived young women into sexual relations.” It said that Wu had been detained while the criminal investigation continued.
Wu’s accuser, Du Meizhu, has said publicly that when she first met Wu in December last year, she was taken by the singer’s agent to his home in Beijing for work-related discussions. She said that she was pressured to drink cocktails until she passed out and later found herself in his bed.
They dated until March, according to her account of the events, when he stopped responding to her calls and messages. She has also said she believed that he targeted other young women.
Wu’s lawyer did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Du could not be reached.
It was not immediately clear if the police were specifically investigating Du’s claims. In a statement in July, the police had released what appeared to be preliminary findings about Du’s allegations. The police had said Du had hyped her story “to enhance her online popularity,” an assessment that was criticized by her supporters as victim-shaming.
The police announcement, posted on the country’s popular Weibo social media platform, immediately started trending, drawing more than 6 million likes.