British Columbia

Parents of slain Chinese student leave Vancouver with faint hope

A senior RCMP officer arrived in Beijing Monday to exchange information with Chinese officials in the murder investigation of Amanda Zhao, as the victim's parents were wrapping up their Vancouver trip to seek justice.
Amanda Zhao's parents, Baoying Yang and Zisheng Zhao, will return to their Beijing home Tuesday following a two-week visit to Vancouver to seek justice for their slain daughter. ((Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press))

A senior RCMP officer arrived in Beijing Monday to exchange information with Chinese officials in the murder investigation of Amanda Zhao.

Chief Supt. Dick Bent flew to the Chinese capital Sunday, with the intention of discussing evidence the RCMP have gathered against Zhao's boyfriend, Ang Li, who has been charged with second-degree murder in B.C.

Zhao, 21, an international student in Vancouver, was reported missing on Oct. 9, 2002. Her body was found 11 days later near Mission, B.C., in the Fraser Valley.

Amanda Zhao's body was found stuffed in a suitcase near Mission, B.C., days after she disappeared on the evening of Oct. 9, 2002. ((CBC))

Li had told police Zhao failed to return to their home in Burnaby after going to a grocery store to buy cooking oil. He fled to China three days after Zhao's body was found and before police issued a warrant for his arrest.

The victim's parents, Zisheng Zhao and Baoying Yang, came to Vancouver from Beijing earlier this month to seek justice for their daughter's death.

They had meetings with federal Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day, the Secretary of State for Multiculturalism Jason Kenny, and senior RCMP officials during their visit.

Yang said Monday that the biggest achievement of the trip was getting Canadian government officials to agree to travel to China to help resolve her daughter's case.

But she was disappointed Foreign Affairs Minister David Emerson and Justice Minister Rob Nicholson wouldn't meet her and her husband, and the RCMP didn't make a commitment to keep them informed on the pursuit of a trial either in China or Canada.

Ang Li, charged with second-degree murder in B.C., returned to China shortly after his girlfriend's body was found. ((CBC))

The Zhaos will return to their Beijing home Tuesday, following the two-week trip made possible through donations and spearheaded by New Democrat MLA Jenny Kwan.

They said they are hoping for a trial in their own country because travelling abroad has become difficult due to their ages.

Canada needs assurances before turning over evidence that could lead to a trial in China, Kwan said Monday.

"What Canada is seeking is for China to put in writing the waiving of the death penalty," she said.

Because of concerns that a Chinese prosecution could end with a death sentence, the RCMP have said they will not hand over the evidence against Li without a guarantee the death penalty will be waived.

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