Violent killing in Germany prompts calls for greater safety awareness
BERLIN — The verdict in a case involving the brutal killing of a Chinese student in Germany, which was delivered on Friday, has triggered mixed reactions among Chinese students in the country.
Although they had differing views on the verdict, they all said that it highlighted the i mportance of being more aware of their personal safety.
Li Yang jie, 25, a Chinese architecture student, went missing while jogging on the evening of May 11, 2016, in the city of Dessau-Rosslau, the third-largest city in the Saxony-Anhalt region of Germany.
Her disfigured body was found abandoned near the crime scene two days later.
On Friday, the court in Dessau-Rosslau sentenced Sebastian F. to life imprisonment for rape and murder, and his accomplice Xenia I. to five years and six months for sexual coercion.
According to investigators, the two lured Li to an empty apartment and then sexually assaulted and physically abused her. When they found Li was still alive, they carried the severely wounded victim and abandoned her outside.
Li’s attorney said: “What they did is even worse because they pretended to need help, and Li just wanted to help them. She was a nice girl, and that’s what they exploited.”
“Justice has finally been done, I feel my pent-up anger over the murderer has been relieved a bit,” said Yang Xiaojuan, a doctorate student at Free University of Berlin.
While most Chinese students in Germany said justice had been done in terms of the life sentence handed to Sebastian F., they were confused about the light punishment meted out to his accomplice.
Lu Xiaozheng, head of the association of Chinese students and scholars at the Technical University of Berlin, couldn’t understand why the court sentenced his accomplice according to the juvenile criminal code.
“Despite her young age, she’s rather mature mentally, and should be fully able to take responsibility for what she did.”
Li’s attorney said he was not satisfied with the court judgement that Xenia was not guilty concerning the murder.
“We are convinced that Xenia did more t han t he court believes,” he said, adding t hat t hey will appeal against the verdict.
There is another case involving a female Chinese student underway i n the United States. Zhang Yingying, a female Chinese visiting scholar at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), was last seen entering a car driven by a 28-year-old white man i n June. The man has been charged with her kidnapping. Zhang, 26, is presumed dead by the FBI.
Raising safety awareness among Chinese scholars and students has topped our working agenda.” Fang Qiang, first secretary of the Chinese embassy in Berlin’s education division
Chen Cheng, a doctorate student of Humboldt University in Berlin, said, following the two cases, Chinese students have become more vigilant.
According to a report by the Center for China and Globalization, a Beijing-based think-tank, a total of 1.26 million Chinese students, or onefourth of international students worldwide, were studying abroad in 2015.
“Raising safety awareness among Chinese scholars and students has topped our working agenda”, said Fang Qiang, first secretary of the embassy’s education division, adding that it organized education sessions on personal safety each year as part of the orientation for newcomers.
On the other hand, he also wanted students and parents to understand that cases like Li’s were extremely rare in Germany.
The Chinese embassy in Germany estimated that there are around 50,000 Chinese scholars and students in Germany.