Two Chinese graduate students at the University of Southern California were shot and killed Wednesday, in what CBS reports appeared to be an attempted carjacking.
Hundreds of students turned out to a candlelight vigil to mourn Ming Qu and Ying Wu, who were both 23 years old and studying electrical engineering.
Photos of the vigil:
USC has more international students than any other U.S. university – over 8,000 total, 2,500 of whom are from China.
Many of the students at the vigil also participated in a silent protest against Chinese media reports that have emphasized the fact that the students were in a BMW car and suggested that the students were showing off their wealth.
One student who posted photos of the vigil on Facebook explained:
…many media were just trying to emphasize that one male one female student were killed in a $60,000 car at such hour, to make it like a cheap entertaining story. The truth is it was raining and the guy was giving the girl a ride home after lab, they were driving a second hand car. While these facts were irrelevant, media’s misleading biased report caused many negative comments in China and we are very angry about it.
Several Chinese students who live in the same neighborhood told the LA Times that they are concerned for their safety, and thinking about moving to an area closer to the school’s campus. Grad student Ryan Lei told the Times:
I was so shocked. Coming here, I thought the worse that could happen was a robbery, not taking someone’s life.
But the Daily Trojan, USC’s student newspaper, talked to other students in the neighborhood who said that such violent crime is a rarity.
The Washington Post reported that Chinese students who hope to study in the U.S. are not letting this incident affect their decision. The Post wrote:
Liu Bo, a student at Peking University, said the shooting will not change his plan to study abroad, likely in a few years. “Probably I will be careful. Maybe my family will be more concerned.”
Our bloggers have had similar reactions to campus violence. Senzeni wrote last year after a gun-related incident at a Kentucky university:
America’s crime rate is way higher than that of my home country, Zimbabwe, and this fact alone, compounded by what I saw in the movies made me very nervous about my move to America. Yes, there are a lot of crimes that have taken place around me but their number is offset by the number of measures that my school (Yale University) has put in place to protect me and everyone enrolled within it.
USC released information today on what it does to provide security in areas around campus, and what students can do to protect themselves.