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Gang rape scandal provokes debate on child-rearing

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-02-25 23:00

BEIJING - An alleged gang rape scandal put the son of renowned Chinese singer Li Shuangjiang under fire over the weekend, sparking debate over how children should be raised in contemporary society.

Police insiders who requested anonymity said 17-year-old Li Tianyi is the son of Li Shuangjiang, dean of the music department of the People's Liberation Army Academy of Arts.

Li Shuangjiang, 74, built his reputation in past decades by singing popular patriotic songs.

Last Friday, a user on Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, wrote a post claiming that the 17-year-old had been detained along with four others after a woman reported to the police that she had been taken to a hotel and gang raped after drinking with the men in a bar.

The news was confirmed by Beijing police the same day.

Li Tianyi's accomplishments, such as playing for the China Youth Hockey team, have created the impression that he is successful in comparison to his peers.

However, he has also made headlines for his controversial behavior.

In 2011, he and another teenager attacked a couple who allegedly blocked their driveway near the entrance of a residential community in Beijing.

He was later sent to a government correctional facility for one year.

Although the children of the celebrities have long been the envy of children from ordinary families in China, Li Tianyi's scandal has shocked the public and led some to reflect on how children should be educated.

"All families should draw lessons from the scandal. Parents should teach their children to be upright people in addition to teaching them intellectual skills," education expert Xiong Bingqi said.

Xiong added that public figures should reflect on the way they teach their kids, as well as spend more time with their children.

The opinion was echoed by TV hostess Ni Ping, who said that the children of celebrities are more likely to be troubled due to a lack of parental care.

The scandal and ensuing coverage have become hot topics on Chinese social media sites, with newspapers and web portals running commentaries on the scandal.

The China Youth Daily carried a commentary urging restraint in covering the case, stating that the 17-year-old Li's personal information and photos should not be carelessly exposed without confirmation from police.

The article further noted that he is still a juvenile and his rights should be protected by law.

"The scandal has highlighted public anxiety regarding social problems, such as the inequitable distribution of social wealth and the widening gap between the rich and the poor," said Zhou Xiaozheng, a sociologist at Renmin University.

"Public figures should spearhead the preservation of moral integrity," he said.

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