A Shanghai court on Wednesday sentenced billionaire real estate developer Wang Zhenhua to five years in prison for child abuse. Wang was arrested last summer for assaulting a nine-year-old girl. At the time, Chinese censors attempted to suppress information about the affair, Wang being a prominent member of the Chinese Communist Party. A storm of online anger over how China protects its wealthiest and most connected individuals has broken out. This anger probably helped bring Wang to justice in the high-profile case that has just ended. The five-year sentence is typical of the sexual assault of children in China. Social media was not satisfied with this, feeling that Wang had gotten off too lightly. In recent years, dozens of women have come forward to report abuse by powerful men. Many have had their reports blocked by censors, lawsuits and the reluctance of the Chinese authorities to get involved in cases of sexual abuse.
Wang Zhenhua was arrested in July 2019. At the time, the shares of his Seazen group, of which he is the majority shareholder and former president, fell sharply. Seazen is one of the biggest Chinese real estate developers. Before his arrest, Seazen was the eighth Chinese real estate developer in terms of sales. Today is the 13e -bigger.
It took two days of a closed hearing at the Shanghai court to reach the verdict. Five years is the maximum prison sentence for child abuse, which is far too lenient. The little girl, and to be clear, she is nine years old, is still a child and will have to carry what he has done with her throughout her life. I know this because I am also a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and I always carry what was done to me with me.
When Wang was arrested last year, the Communist Party issued a statement saying, “… child sexual abuse will surely be dealt with by the sword of the law, without exception!” Wang was removed from office in light of the conviction against him.
Wang, 58, built his fortune in Shanghai real estate as home prices have exploded in the past 20 years. Wang’s son Wang Xiaosong was appointed chairman of the Seazen board after his father was arrested last summer. Wang and his son have a combined net worth of approximately $ 6.1 billion. Wang Zhenhua controls 70% of the Seazen group.