The recent murder of a female student at a Chinese university caused an uproar on Chinese social media. Netizens say the authorities are covering up the crime, which was allegedly committed by an American instructor at the school. A China expert pointed out that the preferential treatment given to international teachers and students at Chinese schools may have been a major factor in the tragic crime.
On the evening of June 14, the body of a young woman was found in the woods near Ningbo Institute of Technology, in eastern China’s Zhejiang Province. The authorities said the victim was a 23-year-old student who attended the school. The next morning, local police arrested the suspect who allegedly confessed to the murder, stating “emotional disputes” as the motive, according to Chinese news portal Tencent QQ. Authorities confirmed that the suspect is a U.S. citizen whose first name is Shadeed, the report said. The police did not release the victim’s name and the suspect’s surname, nor provide additional information on the case.
Several students wrote anonymous posts on Chinese social media, saying that the victim wasn’t the suspect’s girlfriend, and they believe that he killed her because she didn’t want to be romantically involved with him.
The university blocked all news of the crime, and refused to meet with the victim’s family when they tried to reach out to the administrators, according to these posts.
The Chinese-language Epoch Times spoke to a student at the university who knew the victim. Using the pseudonym Wang Yuan, she said the suspect was an instructor at the school who had contacted a number of female students on June 14, and the victim was the only one who agreed to meet with him.
Wang described the victim as being quiet and shy, and she questioned the police report. “Who would believe that the murder was caused by an emotional dispute?” she said.
Wang also revealed that school authorities forbade students from talking to outsiders or discussing the case among themselves, and may be monitoring the students’ social media groups. She said that several social media groups on campus are now required to collect their members’ personal information such as their legal names, academic programs, and majors.
Some netizens said on social media that the suspect is a U.S. citizen named Shadeed, who had been teaching English at the university since 2016. However, none of the posts revealed his last name. The Epoch Times couldn’t verify the information.
Other students have complained about the instructor and claimed that he had harassed other female students, but the school did nothing about it, according to social media posts.
One female student wrote, “I took his class before and he asked me to go out with him. I then reported it to our class counselor. I knew such a tragedy would happen sooner or later. Why is that the school administrators attach little importance to our complaints until a life is lost?”
The victim’s father tried to seek justice on social media and described the tragic scene when the family went to the police station to identify her body.
“I almost fainted when I saw her. My daughter had dozens of cuts on her face, and there was a very deep cut in the aorta on her neck … it was too traumatic to see,” he wrote.
The father also revealed that the school authorities refused to meet with him, using the excuse that “the murder occurred outside the school” and “it’s none of the school’s business,” and they told him to “go through a legal route,” according to his post.
Netizens believe the school is responsible for the student’s death and were particularly outraged by the school’s attitude because the administrators have ignored complaints about the instructor’s inappropriate behavior toward female students in the past.
Ningbo Institute of Technology did not respond to a request for comment.
A video has been circulating online showing three relatives of the victim holding a large photo of her outside the entrance of the university, demanding an explanation from the school. They are surrounded by more than ten policemen. Then a man is seen approaching from behind and he quickly grabs the photo and hands it over to a security guard. The guard then runs toward the school building, while the policemen continue to watch over the group.
Outrage Over Foreign Privileges
Many Chinese are aware that universities in the mainland provide favorable treatment to foreign students and teachers in order to attract and retain them.
U.S.-based current affairs commentator Xia Xiaoqiang said in a blog that the preferential treatment given to foreigners at Chinese schools is unfair and the double standards can lead to trouble because a foreigner can get away with committing a crime.
“If within China’s own territory, Chinese citizens are treated worse than foreigners, where is the national pride and national confidence the authorities have touted frequently?” Xia asked.
In communist China, justice is not served according to the rule of law.
Female college students serving as escorts to male international students is not uncommon.
Two years ago, China’s Shandong University was exposed for providing each of its male international students with three female “study buddies.” When photos were circulated online as evidence, netizens were outraged. The university offered an official apology.
Recently, a photo from Hebei Normal University circulated online showing a classroom where each Pakistani male student was surrounded by two Chinese female students.
A photo from one of the country’s top universities, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China in Chengdu, was recently posted online showing male international students paired with female Chinese students and having fun together at a Dragon Boat Festival.