New Audio Released in Poisoning Case Which Rocks Australian Coastal Town

‘The occurrence of this tragedy...the failure to move the case forward, the victim’s dying with her eyes open are all attributable to the existence of the CCP.’
New Audio Released in Poisoning Case Which Rocks Australian Coastal Town
Zhu Ling, a talented student at Tsinghua University, was poisoned with the deadly chemical thallium in 1990s. (Courtesy of Help Zhuling Foundation)

More documents have been released regarding a poisoning case that enthralled millions in China. The only suspect, who once saw 150,000 people sign a petition for her to be deported from the United States, now faces the same situation in Australia.

Zhu Ling, a talented student who was admitted to Tsinghua University in 1992, was poisoned with the deadly chemical thallium on two occasions in 1994 and 1995, resulting in cerebral neurological damage and lifelong paralysis.

On Dec. 22, 2023, Ms. Zhu passed away due to a brain tumor at the age of 50 in Beijing, sparking renewed public concern. For almost 30 years, she was half-blind, with the mental capacity of a seven-year-old, and required 24/7 care.

It’s widely believed that high-level political factors led Chinese police to let Sun Wei, Ms. Zhu’s roommate at Tsinghua University and the only suspect in the case, off the hook.

Ms. Sun was allegedly jealous of her roommate’s talent and popularity, making it a motive for the crime.

Her grandfather, Sun Yueqi, was a senior official in Kuomintang and was close to the father of the late former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin. Her uncle, Sun Fuling, was the ex-deputy mayor of Beijing and vice chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, a high-level advisory body to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Ms. Sun, who state media has reported had access to thallium in the university laboratory, said she was not the only student with access to the toxic substance and denied personal animosity between herself and Ms. Zhu. Addressing her family’s political connections, she said her grandfather had died by the time she was questioned.

Former Chinese Journalist Releases Police Audio

Chai Jing, a renowned journalist who started a TV program about the case before it was suspended while working for China’s state media, China Central Television (CCTV), recently released the audio recordings of Zhu Ling’s family speaking with a police officer responsible for the case.

“Every step I take, I have to report it to the leadership,” a male police officer in Beijing said when asked about the progress of the poisoning case.

“Is it just because she’s Sun Yueqi’s granddaughter, so [you’re] cautious?” Ms. Zhu’s mother asked.

Police officer: “Well…”

The officer later refused to show his superior’s instructions to Ms. Zhu’s mother and denied that Ms. Sun’s family background played any role in the case.

“It has not affected our investigation at all,” he said.

“If you don’t believe me, do you believe the [Party] organization? Do you believe the municipal [police] bureau, the Beijing Municipal Political and Legal Committee?” the police officer asked.

A young Zhu Ling playing piano before she was poisoned. (Courtesy of Help Zhuling Foundation)
A young Zhu Ling playing piano before she was poisoned. (Courtesy of Help Zhuling Foundation)
Ms. Chai’s 2013 program about the case was later called off by her superiors in CCTV, which motivated her to disclose the collected material and finish the program on her YouTube channel after ten years.

In the interview with Ms. Chai, Ms. Zhu’s mother expressed that some staff in the police system did wish to solve the case, citing the example of a female police officer who cried hard when visiting Ms. Zhu and tried to help with her treatment cost.

“So I don’t blame them. It’s only that in this environment, they can’t say certain things according to their discipline,” she said.

However, a lawyer’s letter representing the victim’s family to Tsinghua University garnered a reaction from the police who told the family that they must “maintain stability.”

“This is what this environment is like,” said Ms. Zhu’s mother.

In 1998, the local police office closed the poisoning case of Zhu Ling.

The Zhu family applied to the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau, requesting that it disclose the case investigation process and results. The reply was a notification of non-disclosure on the grounds that it involves other circumstances that are not allowed to be disclosed by the laws, regulations, and relevant provisions.

The police refused to publicize the evidence they had, saying that Chinese law was different from that of foreign countries.

Australian Petition to Deport Sun

In 2013, Chinese Americans discovered Ms. Sun’s whereabouts in the United States and initiated a petition for her deportation to the Obama administration, which attracted over 151,000 signatures at the time.
On Dec. 26, 2023, four days after Ms. Zhu passed away, a petition was started calling on Australian political leaders to return Ms. Sun, now known as Shiyan “Jasmine” Sun, to China to be questioned about the case.

Ms. Sun, a property investor currently living in Port Stephens, a small town on the northern central coast of New South Wales, owns five properties in the region with her husband, Feiyu “Ringo” Xie, according to the Australian.

“Sun who was Zhu’s roommate in the dormitory, was the only individual with both access to the toxin and a motive,” reads the petition.

“Sun is now residing in Australia … I appeal for a thorough investigation into whether Sun had provided false information when obtaining an Australian visa.”

By press time, a total of 44,433 people had signed the petition, which aimed to reach the goal of 50,000 signatures.

Ms. Sun’s husband, Mr. Xie, described her situation as “unfortunate.”

“It’s an unfortunate thing for us, but we are not prepared to comment on anything,” he told The Australian. “We need to protect ourselves.”

Mr. Xie said his wife’s details, including her cell phone number, emails, business, and property records, were exposed by amateur Chinese detectives who are trying to solve the poisoning case.

In Port Stephens, Ms. Sun’s acquaintances find it hard to link her with the mystery case, while some locals researched the crime online.

“It’s almost like a movie plot, especially in the Bay, you don’t really hear about high-level drama like this,” an acquaintance of Ms. Sun told The Australian. “It’s raised more questions than answers, that’s for sure.”

“The more you go down the rabbit hole the worse it sounds,” said another Port Stephens local.

Zhu Ling playing the Chinese zither. (Courtesy of Help Zhuling Foundation)
Zhu Ling playing the Chinese zither. (Courtesy of Help Zhuling Foundation)

Former University Professor: CCP the Culprit

At the end of Ms. Chai’s program, Ms. Zhu’s parents, both in their 80s, said Ms. Zhu passed away with her eyes open, as described in a Chinese idiom “die without closing one’s eyes” (meaning die with injustice unredressed).

Ms. Zhu’s father said while he did not know if he could see the result in his lifetime, history would finally come to the right conclusion.

“It’s up to our country,” he said. “Society has to progress eventually. A country cannot rely on the rule of man. A country can only develop by the rule of law.”

Li Yuanhua, a former professor at China’s Capital Normal University who now lives in Australia, believes that the CCP’s social system is the ultimate culprit in Zhu Ling’s case.

“The Zhu Ling case did not go through a normal legal procedure back then, the main reason is that the suspect’s family had high-ranking officials, so the root cause is the CCP bureaucracy, or the CCP’s system of corruption,” he told The Epoch Times.

“In this case, you can see the investigation was always subject to restrictions. [It] always needed instructions from a higher level. The case officer responsible could not handle the case but waited for instructions. For the closure of this case, even the Beijing Municipality had no power to close it but pushed it to the central authority, which gave instructions. This is quite strange.

“Therefore, you can obviously see that this case is not an ordinary criminal case but has become a political incident.”

Zhu Ling at her home. (Courtesy of Help Zhuling Foundation)
Zhu Ling at her home. (Courtesy of Help Zhuling Foundation)

Mr. Li, who is from Beijing, the same city where the crime occurred, noted that it was the non-governmental efforts pushing forward the case throughout, including the victim’s diagnosis.

He pointed to Tsinghua University’s shirking responsibility of the case, such as loose management of thallium, and the hospital’s failure in the early days to offer a serum that could treat Ms. Zhu, which forced her family to look for it through connections.

“Why is it that a problem that can be easily solved in a normal society, yet in a communist country, you cannot even diagnose what poisoned her?” he asked.

“This life is not valued due to the fact that her family background is not as strong as that of the murder suspect.”

“It should be said that the occurrence of this tragedy, including the failure to move the case forward, the failure to provide timely assistance to the victim, and the victim’s dying with her eyes open, are all attributable to the existence of the Communist Party.”

The Australian Department of Home Affairs refused to comment on if it is investigating the issue.

“Due to privacy reasons we are unable to disclose any personal information on an individual’s circumstances,” a spokesperson told The Epoch Times.

Cindy Li is an Australia-based writer for The Epoch Times focusing on China-related topics. Contact Cindy at [email protected]
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