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“The UK Is Not a Safe Place” – Concerns over Second Chinese Female Student Reported Missing in London

Within 24 hours, two Chinese female exchange student have been reported missing in London.

Manya Koetse

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Two Chinese students have been reported missing in London within 24 hours. Yan Sihong has not been in touch with family or friends since February 16; Rong Luqi last contacted friends on February 25, saying she had been kidnapped. Chinese state media warn that the UK is not a safe place.

This article has been updated. Scroll down to see latest information.

While concerns are growing about the disappearance of Yan Sihong (闫思宏), a Chinese PhD student at London’s King’s College, worries are also rising over another Chinese exchange student in London.

Rong Luqi (荣露琦), a student at London’s Imperial College, has also been reported missing earlier this week. She was last seen on February 25 and send out messages to a WeChat group pleading for help, saying she had been abducted.

In many reports over the two cases, there seem to be some unclarities and mixed-up facts. Some reports in Chinese suggest that it was Yan Sihong who called out for help on WeChat, although other news articles clarify that it was Rong Luqi who reached out to her friends.

Some also wrote that Yan studied Science & Engineering; but Yan is affiliated to the Lau China Institute, a multi-disciplinary centre for the study of all aspects of China which is part of the London King’s College. She is a PhD student. Rong is an undergraduate student in the field of Science & Engineering at Imperial College.

The SCMP writes that Yan Sihong was last seen on February 14, although Yan’s parents write on Weibo that they still spoke through video chat on the night of Chinese New Year on February 15, and that Yan also spoke to friends on Wechat on February 16.

In November of 2017, another Chinese exchange student named Hu Xingshuai was reported missing after he had taken a train in Edinburgh. It is still unclear what has happened to the 23-year-old Hu.

“The UK really isn’t safe”

In response to recent developments, the foreign edition of state-run newspaper People’s Daily responded with an article published on Weibo, in which they write: “Why are there repeated incidents regarding Chinese exchange students in the UK?”

For an answer to this question, they turn to a Chinese doctor who previously studied in the UK, stating that “the UK really isn’t a safe place.” The newspaper mentions the 2017 terror attacks in London and Manchester and the minimal security measures at subway stations as some examples of the UK’s weak spots when it comes to safety.

People’s Daily also writes that the fact that many Chinese overseas students are extra vulnerable in facing potentially perilous situations because they are not familiar with local culture, customs, and dangers. The newspaper suggests that many students do not understand the UK’s culturally diverse society and are not aware that some parts of town may be less safe than other areas.

Currently, the case of Yan Sihong is being investigated by London police, who have also issued a public appeal to find her. The Chinese embassy in London has not yet confirmed the case of Rong.

UPDATE Wednesday 12:05 pm (London time): London police have issued a statement that officers investigating the disappearance of Yan have found a woman deceased at an address in Westminster. She is believed to be Yan Sihong. The death is being treated as non-suspicious. The family has been informed.

By Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us.

©2018 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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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 Media

Lost in Translation? UBS’s “Chinese Pig” Comment Stirs Controversy

“Chinese pig” – much ado about nothing or an insulting remark?

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A report by the UBS titled “Very Normal Inflation” caused controversy on Chinese social media on Thursday for containing the term “Chinese pig.”

The UBS, a Swiss multinational investment bank, published the article on consumer price inflation on June 12. The author, economist Paul Donovan, wrote: “Chinese consumer prices rose. This was mainly due to sick pigs. Does it matter? It matters if you are a Chinese pig.” The same text also appeared in a podcast on inflation in China.

Global Times (环球时报), a Chinese and English language media outlet under the People’s Daily newspaper, lashed out against the USB for its “insulting” and “discrimatory” remarks.

Many netizens agreed with the Global Times, and see the “Chinese pig” remark as a joke with a double meaning, assuming that Donovan was both talking about pigs in China, as well as insulting Chinese people.

Some people suggest that if Donovan did not intend to make a pun, he could have written “it matters if it is a pig in China” instead. They argue that UBS and Donovan could have avoided using the term to begin with, and intentionally wrote it up like this to insult Chinese people.

There are also social media users who come to Donovan’s defense. Author Deborah Chen (陈叠) writes on Weibo that she has known Paul for a long time and that she knows him as a straightforward and humorous commentator. “There is just one kind of translation for ‘pigs of China’ (中国的猪) and ‘Chinese pigs’ (中国猪) in English,” she says: “If you look at the context, you’ll see he’s talking about farm animals, and is not humiliating the people of the nation.”

On Weibo, multiple people called the reactions to the article “overly sensitive.”

A commenter nicknamed “Taxpayer0211809” wrote: “The way I understood is just that China’s consumer prices have inflated and that this is because of the swine fever. Is this thing important? It is important if you are a pig in China, or if you like eating pork, for the rest of the world there won’t be a big influence.”

Shortly after the controversy erupted, the UBS and Donovan sent their apologies, which were also published by Global Times:

But some Chinese web users did not accept those apologies. One Chinese author wrote there was nothing “innocent” about the remarks made.

The article in question has since been removed from the USB website.

 
Also read: Bulgari’s Noteworthy New China Marketing Campaign on a Happy ‘Jew’ Year of the Pig (Zhu)
 

By Manya Koetse and Miranda Barnes

Photo by Fabian Blank on Unsplash

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. Please note that your comment below will need to be manually approved if you’re a first-time poster here.

©2019 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com

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China Media

On 30th Anniversary of the Tiananmen Protests, Weibo Completely Cracks Down on the T-Word

The T-word is the taboo subject, but not for the State Office.

Manya Koetse

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Nobody can mention the T-word on social media this week, except for the State Council Information Office.

It is the time of the year that censorship on Chinese internet intensifies, and this year the date carries even more weight, as it marks the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen student protests that started in April 1989 and ended with the violent crackdown on June 4th of that year.

What is noticeable about this anniversary on Weibo this year? Whereas certain combinations of ‘Tiananmen’ together with ‘protests’ or ‘6.4’ are always controlled on the social media site, searching for the Chinese word ‘Tiananmen’ now only shows a series of media posts about the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China (#庆祝新中国成立70年#).

The posts all come from Chinese (state) media outlets and mention the word ‘Tiananmen’ in it, with different state media outlets all posting the same post after the other starting from Monday night local time (e.g. one posts at 19:35, the other at 19:36, 19:45, etc).

The post is a press release from the State Council Information Office that for the first time now shares the official logo to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

The logo is the number “70” and the National Emblem of the People’s Republic of China, which contains in a red circle a representation of Tiananmen Gate and the five stars of the national flag. The word ‘Tiananmen’ is mentioned twice in the official state media Weibo posts.

Earlier on Monday, shortly before the press release, searching for ‘Tiananmen’ on Weibo showed that there were over 18 million posts containing the word ‘Tiananmen,’ but when clicking the results page, it suddenly showed that there were “no results” at all, suggesting a complete shutdown of searches for this term.

The hashtag page for #Tiananmen# (#天安门#) also comes up with zero results at time of writing.

For more on this subject, also read: Tiananmen Without the Tanks – The 1980s China Wants to Remember and the interview with musician Jeroen den Hengst, who was in Beijing in 1989.

By Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. Please note that your comment below will need to be manually approved if you’re a first-time poster here.

©2019 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com

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