© AFP/File, Wang ZhaoA courthouse in China's capital Beijing on July 8, 2013.
Beijing - The son of a Chinese general has been charged with rape, state media said, in a case that has sparked public anger over the seemingly privileged lives of elite youths.

Li Tianyi, 17, "is among five suspects who allegedly gang-raped a woman in a hotel" in February, the Xinhua state news agency said, citing a Beijing district public prosecutor.

The boy's father Li Shuangjiang holds the rank of general as dean of the music department for the Chinese army's Academy of Arts, and is known for singing patriotic songs.

The public prosecutor's office only provided the surname of the suspect but confirmed "the case is the same gang rape case", Xinhua said.

Li Tianyi triggered public controversy in 2011 after he and another teenager, both driving expensive cars, attacked a couple who reportedly blocked their passage, while the victims' child looked on.

After the incident drew widespread attention online, he was sent to a correctional facility for one year and the general apologised for his son's actions.

Public resentment has built in China towards the children of powerful officials and wealthy families viewed as living extravagantly or above the law due to their connections.

In one prominent scandal, the son of a police chief in 2010 tried to assert his father's status to avoid trouble for a fatal car accident.

After running over a student in northern Hebei province, Li Qiming shouted: "Sue me if you dare. My father is Li Gang!"

He was later sentenced to six years in prison.