Acclaimed Musician Allegedly Caught With Sex Worker, Arrested

Famed international pianist Li Yundi is a suspect in a Beijing police case, according to police in China. The Beijing police force's blog posted a statement that a suspect was put in "administrative detention" and an investigation was opened on Oct. 21, reports the Associated Press. The case involves a woman identified as Chen and a man identified as "Li di," with the first part of the suspect's name censored to protect their privacy.

Another post showed a piano keyboard with the message, "One must definitely see clearly the difference between black and white." The China Musicians Association also announced it was forcing the 39-year-old Li out of its organization based on the police notice. There are few details about the case available, but state media reports Li allegedly solicited sex from a 29-year-old woman, according to the New York Times.

Li's arrest quickly dominated discussion on Weibo, the Twitter-like social media platform popular in China. He has over 20 million followers on Weibo and often performs during the annual Lunar New Year gala carried on Chinese television. His detention comes as the Chinese government has been trying to "purify" the country's pop culture in attempts to stop celebrity worship and fan clubs from sprouting. 

In August, a list of "misbehaving celebrities" surfaced, reports CNN. One actress on the list, Zhao Wei, saw her social media presence scrubbed for Wibo. Zheng Shuang, who was also on the list, had her videos removed when she was fined for tax evasion. Zheng was accused of abandoning her two babies in the U.S. Pop star Kris Wu also appeared on the list after he was arrested on suspicion of rape.

The Chinese government has a long history of accusing political enemies of prostitution. Since there is very little detail about Li's case, experts think that could be the case here. "Can one be confident that the facts alleged are true?" New York University law professor Jerome Cohen told the Times. "Prostitution is such a time-honored Communist Party claim against political opponents that one has to be suspicious of this case."

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Li is an internationally known pianist, famous for winning the XIV International Chopin Piano Competition in 2000 at only 18 years old. He has toured around the world, making his U.S. debut at Carnegie Hall in 2003. He has recorded over a dozen studio albums.