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25-Year-Old Woman from Chengdu Murdered in Australia [Updated]

The recent mysterious murder of the 25-year-old Chinese Michelle Leng, who studied in Sydney, has become a much-talked about case on social media, both in China and in Australia.

Manya Koetse

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The recent mysterious murder of the 25-year-old Chinese Michelle Leng, who studied in Sydney, has become a much-talked about case on social media, both in China and in Australia. Local police are still puzzled about what happened to her. [Updated: according to Sydney Morning Herald, a man who is believed to be Leng’s uncle was charged with her murder on Friday, April 29].

The 25-year-old international student Michelle Leng (Mengmei Leng, 冷梦梅) from Chengdu was reported missing by a Weibo user on Tuesday, April 26. According to the Weibo message, the woman was last seen by her friends on Thursday, April 21st around 3.00 pm in central Syndey, where she said goodbye to them at a bus stop.

Disappearance of Michelle Leng

Leng had been living in Australia as an international student for five years. Although her sudden disappearance was deemed “very unusual” by her friends and family, they did not formally report her missing until Monday, four days since she was last seen.

According to China’s WMG News, the message that Leng was missing attracted much attention from netizens who helped spread the news of Leng’s disappearance on Chinese social media.

At the same time, a New South Wales police station issued a public notice on Wednesday, April 27, that they were looking for people to help confirm the identity of a deceased woman whose naked body was found on Sunday near a tourist area on the New South Wales Central Coast near Snapper Point. On Friday, April 29, the body was confirmed to be that of Leng.

ABC News reports that Leng was found floating face-down in the water at a blowhole with several stab wounds in the neck, indicating a violent attack.

593793e5gw1f3dja355mij20hm0d8acgThe location where Leng’s body was found (Daily Mail).

Leng lived with her aunt, uncle, and cousins in Campsie, a suburb in southwestern Sydney. Her mother and brother are living in China. According to VOIS magazine, Michelle Leng studied at the University of Technology in Sydney.

vois

As police is still investigating what happened to Leng, they released CCTV footage of her shopping in central Sydney’s Pitt Street on April 21st. Australian police asked people who have any information about Leng’s whereabouts between April 21st and April 24th to come forward.

cctv

The place where Leng was found on Sunday is some 277 kilometers (172 miles) away from the central part of Sydney where she was last captured on CCTV camera.

Timeline of Michelle Leng Case [updated]

• Thursday, April 21 – Michelle Leng says goodbye to her friends at a bus stop in central Sydney and goes shopping at Pitt Street Mall, takes train ride home to Campsie.
• Sunday, April 24 – Woman’s naked body found at Snapper Point on the Central Coast, some 277 km from central Sydney.
• Monday, April 25 – Michelle Leng is reported missing by her relatives.
• Tuesday, April 26 – News of the disappearance of Michelle Leng gets attention on Chinese social media, as an acquaintance of the family posts about it.
• Wednesday, April 27 – Australian police issues public notice about the body found at the coast.
• Friday, April 29 – The body of the woman found at Snapper Point is confirmed to be that of Michelle Leng.
• Friday, April 29 – Police arrest the 27-year-old uncle of Leng and charge him with her murder.
• Saturday, April 30 – The suspect is scheduled to appear at Parramatta Bail Court.

 

Discussions on Facebook and Weibo

On Facebook, Michelle Leng became the focus of speculation on Friday, with some media saying she had arrangements to meet someone she knew from social media on Thursday night – although this has not been confirmed. Other Facebookers take Leng’s case as a warning for all international students to look out for each other and call the police when they think they are being followed.

 

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Many Weibo netizens are currently also discussing Leng’s case under the hashtag ’25-year-old Chengdu Woman Murdered in Syndey’ (#成都女孩悉尼遇害#). While most sympathize with Leng and her family, there are also those who say the girl only went to study abroad to get a “fake diploma”. One netizen comments: “What scares me more than this murder is how people comment on it. A Chinese girl has met great misfortune while studying abroad. And suddenly ignorant masses are compelled to say she was ‘buying fake credentials’ and other things that have nothing to do with it.”

Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 17.41.18

“This is so tragic, I hope they solve the case soon,” another netizen said.

Although Australian SBS news initially reported that Michelle Leng’s killing was still a ‘puzzle’ to local police, the Sydney Morning Herald later reported that a man who is believed to be Leng’s uncle was arrested for her murder on Friday.

– By Manya Koetse

©2016 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Manya Koetse is the editor-in-chief of www.whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer and consultant (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends in China, with a focus on social media and digital developments, popular culture, and gender issues. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

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China Local News

China’s Shulan City in “Wartime Mode” after Recording 13 COVID-19 Infections

Local authorities announced a “wartime mode” lockdown due to 13 new local coronavirus cases in Shulan.

Manya Koetse

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The city of Shulan in China’s Jilin Province is top trending on Chinese social media today after local authorities announced a “wartime mode” lockdown due to 13 new local coronavirus cases.

These are the first local infections in the entire province after a period of 73 days, China News reports, with other previous cases all being infections from abroad.

Last week, on May 7th, a female resident was the first to be tested positive for COVID-19. The city in northeast China is now the only place in the PRC to be marked as “high risk.”

One page on social media platform Weibo dedicated to the topic of Shulan going into “wartime mode” (“战时状态”) had received over 190 million views by Monday evening local time.

What does this “wartime mode” entail?
– All residents stay home, lockdown of residential compounds
– All public places closed
– Schools closed
– All public transportation suspended
– No more selling of fever-reducing medicine in clinics or stores

According to CGTN, a total of 290 people who have been in close contact with the infected patients have been traced and placed under medical observation.

For more COVID-19 related articles, please click here.

By Manya Koetse (@manyapan)
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China Local News

On Wuhan’s ‘Reopening Day’, Even Traffic Jams Are Celebrated

As the COVID-19 lockdown has ended in Wuhan, many people are happy to see the city’s traffic finally getting busy again. “I hated traffic jams before, now it makes me happy to see them.”

Manya Koetse

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It was chilly and grey in Wuhan when the coronavirus epicenter city went into a full lockdown on January 23 of this year. On April 8, 76 days later, it is sunny and twenty degrees warmer outside as people leave their homes to resume work or go for a stroll.

The end of the Wuhan lockdown is a special day for many, as the city finally lifted the 11-week-long ban that shut down all travel to and from the city in a radical effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.

On Wednesday, city residents returned to work as public transport started again. Roads, bridges, and tunnels were reopened, and the local airport resumed flights.

On Chinese social media, various hashtags relating to the Wuhan lockdown end have become popular topics. Using hashtags such as “Wuhan Lifts the Ban” (#武汉解封#), “Wuhan Open Again after 76 Days” (#武汉暂停76天后重启#), and “Wuhan Reopens” (#武汉重启#), the end of the coronavirus ban is a much-discussed news item, along with the spectacular midnight light show that was organized to celebrate the city’s reopening.

The Wuhan lightshow, image via Xinhua.

“Today has finally arrived! It’s been difficult for the people of Wuhan,” some commenters write.

According to China’s official statistics, that are disputed, over 3330 people have died from the new coronavirus since its outbreak; 80% of these fatal cases were reported in Wuhan. On April 6, authorities claimed that for the first time since the virus outbreak, there were zero new COVID-19 deaths.

Some state media, including People’s Daily, report that the reopening of restaurants and food shops is going smoothly in the city, as people – for the first time since January – are back to buying pan-fried dumplings and noodles from their favorite vendors.

Meanwhile, the fact that the traffic in some Wuhan areas is back to being somewhat congested is something that is widely celebrated on social media.

Some call the mild traffic congestions “great”, viewing it as a sign that the city is coming back to life again after practically turning into a ghost town for all these weeks.

“I hated traffic jams before, now it makes me happy to see them,” one Weibo commenter writes.

“I won’t complain about congested traffic again, because it’s a sign the streets are flourishing,” another Weibo user posted.

While netizens and media outlets are celebrating the end of the lockdown, several Chinese media accounts also remind people on social media that although the ban has been lifted, people still need to be vigilant and refrain from gathering in groups and standing close to each other.

For more COVID-19 related articles, please click here.

By Manya Koetse (@manyapan)
Follow @whatsonweibo

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. First-time commenters, please be patient – we will have to manually approve your comment before it appears.

©2020 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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