China 'holds general's son for gang rape'

China has detained the 17-year-old son of a general on suspicion of involvement in a gang rape, reports said Friday, the latest allegation against the privileged children of officials to spark public outrage.

Li Tianyi, the son of general Li Shuangjiang -- a popular singer and household name in the country -- was held on Thursday, reported several Chinese news outlets including state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV).

Crimes by the offspring of China's elite cause particular anger among ordinary people.

The latest reports did not go into detail about the alleged offence, but news of the teenager's arrest was re-posted thousands of times on Sina Weibo, China's version of Twitter, with many users leaving angry comments.

"Child, why don't you stop disturbing everyone and quickly grow up," said one. "Your father has a glorious past, and you are blaspheming it."

Other Weibo users were more direct. "Put him to death," said another.

Contacted for comment, a Beijing public security bureau official told AFP to refer to the domestic media reports.

It is not the first time the teenager has come to public attention.

He was sent to a government correctional facility for one year in 2011 for beating a couple while their young child looked on.

Hundreds of thousands of people went online to express their outrage at the time, and the general, a dean of the music department at the Beijing-based People's Liberation Army Academy of Arts, apologised for his son's actions.

"As the father, I bear the responsibility for my son's behaviour. I'm so sorry that I'd rather now be beaten by you," he was quoted as saying.

"I will not condone my son's faults, and there will be a settlement."

That incident came after a high-profile scandal in 2010, when the son of a top police officer tried to use his father's status to escape a fatal car accident he had caused.

Li Qiming, 22, ran over a student in the northern province of Hebei, and shouted: "Sue me if you dare. My father is Li Gang!". He was later sentenced to six years in prison.

Last March senior Communist Party official Ling Jihua's son reportedly died when he crashed a Ferrari in the capital, leaving two women passengers -- one said to have been naked -- injured.

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