After Illinois student’s disappearance, Chinese point finger at “inefficient” U.S. police

Yingying Zhang's father Ronggao Zhang, left, and her friend Xiaolin Hou carry the banner as community members join together to walk for Yingying, a Chinese scholar who went missing three weeks ago, Thursday, June 29, 2017, in Urbana, Ill. Illinois students and others from the wider community are gathering at the Urbana-Champaign campus to show support for the Chinese scholar who disappeared three weeks ago. (Holly Hart/The News-Gazette via AP)

BEIJING, China– 26-year-old Yingying Zhang, an international student studying at the University of Illinois, has been missing for more than one month. Now, the public in her native country of China is pointing fingers at the U.S. and American law enforcement.

The FBI is working the case, and says Zhang was kidnapped by Brendt Christensen, 28, on June 9th. They now suspect she is dead. But, more than a month later, China’s “Global Times” newspaper reports “the slow progress in finding Zhang has led many [in China] to criticize the efficiency of the U.S. police.” The paper goes on to say, “Some Chinese parents have begun to wonder if it is safe to send their children to the U.S.”

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Zhang’s disappearance has reportedly sparked heated discussion on Chinese social media on the efficiency of the U.S. legal system, as well as the general safety of America.

The “Global Times” reports the circumstances of Zhang’s kidnapping drew nationwide interest on China’s social media sites, due to her excellent educational background, the apparent uncooperative nature of the suspect, and the fact that Zhang’s body still hasn’t been found more than a month later.

A Chinese blogger, Zhan Hao, wrote to his more than 1.5 million followers, “Whether it’s the U.S. police or the FBI, their case-solving abilities are not even as good as out country-level police. They finally found a suspect a month after Zhang went missing, who turned out to be a doctoral student and R.A. at Zhang’s university.”

He continues, “With this low skill level, no wonder they are only able to resort to bullets. The miracles of U.S. police are only Hollywood depictions!” Hao’s post has been shared hundreds of times.

Xinhua News Agency, China’s State news agency, warned against the high crime rates in the U.S., highlighting, “You don’t even need to look at the numbers. Just check the local news and you’ll find there is almost not a single day when a crime doesn’t happen.”

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Others question why there are so few surveillance cameras in the U.S., compared to China, which made it difficult for police to track the route of Christensen’s car on the day Zhang disappeared. In Beijing, apart from when people are home, nearly everything they do is monitored by surveillance cameras.

Although some people question the safety of the U.S. and the efficiency of its police, others are trying to explain the American legal system to the Chinese public.

You Tianlong, a Chinese doctoral student in justice studies at Arizona State University, called many Chinese people’s mistrust of the American legal system is “unfounded.”

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“The misunderstanding of some members of the Chinese public is mainly due to their unfamiliarity with the U.S. legal system, and some media’s intentional distortion,” Tianlong told the “Global Times.”

Tianlong has been writing in the Chinese media that the reason why the FBI waited several weeks to arrest Christensen was not because of their low efficiency, but due to the country’s legal system.

“In order to protect citizens’ property rights and privacy, law enforcement officers have to obtain a search warrant before they search private properties,” he explained.