A Shanghai court sentenced a billionaire real estate developer and philanthropist to five years in prison for child molestation on Wednesday, ending a high-profile case that spurred soul searching about how China handles child abuse and protects its wealthiest and best connected.
The developer, Wang Zhenhua, 58, was detained last summer after news outlets reported he assaulted a nine-year-old girl.
After censors sought to delete reports about the case, a flurry of online rage culminated in state media criticism of Wang, whose Chinese Communist Party membership was revoked.
The five-year sentence, typical for child molestation, raised further ire on social media. Two local news polls on microblogging site Weibo found respondents overwhelmingly believed the developer’s punishment to be too lenient.
In one poll, carried out by Phoenix News, 15,000 out of 17,000 respondents said Wang had gotten off too easily.