British Columbia

Visiting parents demand justice in Zhao's slaying 6 years ago

The parents of the Chinese student whose body was found stuffed in a suitcase six years ago near Mission, B.C., are demanding the Canadian government bring justice to their daughter's death.
Zisheng Zhao, Amanda's father, says both the Chinese and Canadian governments are not doing their best to bring justice to the slaying of his daughter. ((CBC))

The parents of the Chinese student whose body was found stuffed in a suitcase six years ago near Mission, B.C., are demanding the Canadian government bring justice to their daughter's death.

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

Ang Li, Zhao's boyfriend, was later being charged with second-degree murder in B.C. but fled to China before a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Baoying Yao, Amanda Zhao's mother, says she and her husband will meet with the federal justice and foreign affairs ministers. ((CBC))

Zhao's parents are visiting Vancouver for two weeks, using donations to cover their airfare and accomodations.

Speaking through a translator, Zisheng Zhao and Baoying Yao said they want Foreign Affairs Minister David Emerson and Justice Minister Rob Nicholson to co-operate with Chinese officials and bring Li back to Canada to face trial.

"The Canadian government uses the excuse of human rights to protect the suspect," Zhao said in press conference Tuesday.

"Amanda is my only daughter," he said. "What are we to do when she's left? The Chinese government is not dealing with the case because they don't have any evidence. The Canadian government hasn't done anything for us at all either."

Zhao broke down and cried repeatedly while speaking to reporters. He said justice delayed is justice denied.

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))

"I want to have this case solved in my lifetime. I'm not going to be living to 100 years old, but I wanted to have my daughter brought to justice and the accused brought to justice within my lifetime," he said.

Zhao was an exchange student and shared a basement suite with Li in Burnaby. Li had claimed Zhao left their place to buy groceries at a local Safeway and never came back. Eleven days later, her body was found stuffed in a suitcase left at the Stave Lake area near Mission, east of Vancouver.

Zhao's mother appeared composed when answering reporters' questions.

"We will be meeting with the justice minister and the foreign affairs minister [this week]. We hope we will get positive results from these meetings," Yao said.

Secretary of State for Multiculturalism Jason Kenney said Tuesday the fact that China practises capital punishment is a problem for the Canadian government's stand on the case.

The lack of an extradition treaty between Canada and China also makes ongoing negotiations with Chinese officials difficult, Kenney told CBC News.

"There are limitations on the degree to which Canada can co-operate with [China], based on other cases, for capital offenses under Chinese law."

He said the Canadian government is committed to seeing the case brought to justice, but he didn't say whether justice should be meted out in Canada or China.

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