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  1. Zugzwang
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    02 Jul '17 22:19
    I began writing about this case in another thread.

    http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/30/us/chinese-scholar-disappearance-kidnapping/

    "FBI arrests man in disappearance of Chinese grad student."

    "A man has been arrested in connection with the disappearance of a visiting Chinese
    graduate student last seen June 9 on the University of Illinois campus, the US attorney's
    office for Central Illinois said Friday.

    Investigators with the FBI think the student, Yingying Zhang, 26, is probably dead,
    a news release from the attorney's office said.

    Brendt Christensen, 27, of Champaign, Illinois, was charged with kidnapping, the news release said.
    Christensen was under surveillance Thursday when agents overheard him saying he kidnapped Zhang,
    a criminal complaint says. Christensen said he took Zhang back to his apartment, the complaint adds."

    "There are more than 300,000 Chinese students and scholars attending US universities.
    Zhang's disappearance triggered widespread concern in China, with discussion of the
    case dominating both social and traditional media."

    American authorities may be worried that violent crimes against Chinese students will
    discourage other Chinese (a lucrative market) from arriving to study in the USA.

    Zhang Yingying's parents have travelled from China to Illinois, hoping to aid the search for her.
    They must be heartbroken by this news.
  2. Zugzwang
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    02 Jul '17 22:372 edits
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-missing-illinois-student-charges-20170630-story.html

    "'Nobody saw this coming': Arrest in Chinese scholar's disappearance stuns U. of I. [Illinois] community"

    "Federal authorities have arrested and charged a 28-year-old man with kidnapping Yingying Zhang,
    a visiting scholar at the University of Illinois who disappeared three weeks ago and now is presumed dead.

    Brendt Christensen, a former Ph.D. candidate who had studied physics at the university,
    was arrested late Friday, according to a news release from the Department of Justice.
    A federal complaint also was filed Friday in the Central District of Illinois accusing him of
    kidnapping Zhang from the Urbana-Champaign campus the afternoon of June 9."

    ""This is a senseless and devastating loss of a promising young woman and a member
    of our community," U. of I. Chancellor Robert Jones said in a statement. "There is
    nothing we can do to ease the sadness or grief for her family and friends, but we can and
    we will come together to support them in any way we can in these difficult days ahead.""

    "Authorities interviewed Christensen on June 15 while the FBI and U. of I. police searched his car.
    In the interview, Christensen admitted to driving around the U. of I. campus when he
    saw an Asian woman standing at the corner, looking distressed, the affidavit states.
    Christensen said he drove up to her and offered her a ride after she said she was late to
    an appointment. The woman then tried to show Christensen where she needed to go
    through the map on her phone. Christensen claimed he made a wrong turn at some
    point and the woman panicked, then he let her out of his car a few blocks from where
    he picked her up, the affidavit states.

    Authorities also searched Christensen’s home and seized electronics, including his phone,
    according to the affidavit. The phone’s search history revealed visits to a bondage and
    sadomasochism fetish website called FetLife and a forum called "Abduction 101," as well
    as subthreads titled “Perfect abduction fantasy” and "planning a kidnapping," according
    to the affidavit. The searches to those websites had occurred several weeks before the
    alleged abduction, around April 19, authorities wrote in the affidavit.

    In a search of the car, authorities discovered that the front passenger side where Zhang
    would have been sitting "appeared to have been cleaned to a more diligent extent than
    the other vehicle doors," the affidavit states, adding that investigators believed this was
    done to conceal evidence.

    Authorities began surveilling Christensen on June 16. On June 29, police heard him say
    on an audio recording that he kidnapped Zhang, brought her back to his apartment and
    held her in his apartment against her will, according to the affidavit.

    "Based on this, and other facts uncovered during the investigation of this matter, law
    enforcement does not believe (Zhang) is still alive," the affidavit states."

    "Zhang's boyfriend has said that she was cautious and wouldn't normally get into a car
    with a stranger unless duped or forced."

    “Christensen earned a master's degree from the (physics) program in May of 2017 and
    his affiliation with the department ended that same month,” said Kaler, the university spokeswoman.
    Christensen also taught introductory courses and discussion sections for four semesters and one summer course.

    “He was completely normal, there were no complaints about his teaching,” Cooper said.
    “He was on the excellent teaching list, so he was well-reviewed by his students.”
    No disciplinary issues were reported about him, and he never had issues showing up f
    or class or getting assignments in on time, Cooper said.
    “There was nothing remarkable about him as far as I could see,” Cooper said.

    "Cooper said he was shocked when he heard news about Christensen's arrest and said
    that members of his graduate-level physics class seemed to share that reaction.
    They had a meeting scheduled for Sunday to brainstorm ideas for sharing their condolences with Zhang's family."

    "She was (in America) for a month. This should not have happened," Manzella said.
    "I want her family to get justice. It's just really disturbing. I don't even feel safe."

    "Tong also said that because Zhang has a Chinese background, she may have felt it
    would be rude to turn down someone insistent on helping her.

    Xu said parents of Chinese students hear about gun violence but assume that it’s safer at school and
    many students come to the United States with the perception that Americans are exceptionally nice."

    Was Zhang Yingying murdered in part because she misread a 'nice' white American man?
  3. Zugzwang
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    02 Jul '17 23:48
    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jul/02/illinois-kidnapping-yingying-zhang-china-brendt-christensen

    "Illinois kidnapping: sexual fetish site with ‘Abduction 101’ linked to suspect.
    Complaint against Brendt Christensen in disappearance of Yingying Zhang says
    his phone was used to visit FetLife.com and ‘planning a kidnapping’ thread."

    "A website that hosted an “Abduction 101” forum that has been linked to a suspect in the kidnapping of
    a Chinese scholar at the University of Illinois bills itself as the world’s most popular sexual fetish site.

    Brendt Allen Christensen, a physics graduate student, will appear in federal court on Monday,
    on charges of abducting 26-year-old Yingying Zhang in June. Investigators believe
    Zhang is dead, although her body has not been found."
  4. Zugzwang
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    04 Jul '17 01:132 edits
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-ct-missing-illinois-student-met-20170702-story.html

    "Chinese students, parents share concerns over campus safety in wake of U. of I. kidnapping arrest."

    "Newspapers and social media in China have quoted concerned citizens saying the "lack of
    gun control in America" and "inefficient" police work make it a dangerous place for students,
    and outspoken Chinese parents have said they will reconsider sending their children to the U.S."

    "If Chinese parents fear for their children's safety and refuse to send them to the
    United States, there's more at stake for institutions of higher learning than diversity.
    According to the Brookings Institution, in the five-year period from 2008 through 2012,
    foreign students pursuing bachelor's degrees spent $21.8 billion in tuition alone and
    contributed $12.8 billion in other spending in the same time frame. In Urbana-Champaign,
    which had almost 60 foreign students per 1,000, that worked out to be more than $427 million
    in tuition and another $200 million in living costs during those five years, Brookings Institution data show."

    "In April 2012, two 23-year-old Chinese graduate students in the electrical engineering
    program, Ying Wu and Ming Qu, were shot to death at about 1 a.m. while sitting in a
    parked BMW just west of campus.
    The students' parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the university [USC],
    saying the school misled them when it said it ranked among the safest in the nation.
    Two years later, engineering student Xinran Ji was assaulted with a baseball bat at 12:45 a.m.
    on July 24 near the corner of 29th Street and Orchard Avenue, a few blocks from campus."

    To alarmed Chinese parents, this is about their children's safety in the USA.
    To American schools, this is about the money that Chinese students would bring.
  5. Subscriberno1marauder
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    04 Jul '17 01:321 edit
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-ct-missing-illinois-student-met-20170702-story.html

    "Chinese students, parents share concerns over campus safety in wake of U. of I. kidnapping arrest."

    "Newspapers and social media in China have quoted concerned citizens saying the "lack of
    gun control in America" and "inefficient" police work m ...[text shortened]... ety in the USA.
    To American schools, this is about the money that Chinese students would bring.
    Duchess: To alarmed Chinese parents, this is about their children's safety in the USA.
    To American schools, this is about the money that Chinese students would bring.

    Presumably Chinese students are attending US universities at least in significant part because doing so will enhance their opportunity for financial gain. So it is histrionic to chastise US universities for also benefiting financially from providing this service.

    It's rather unclear what US universities could have possibly done to prevent these crimes.

    At least no Chinese students here have had an experience similar to this. http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/tiananmen-square-massacre-takes-place
  6. Subscriberno1marauder
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    04 Jul '17 01:40
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-ct-missing-illinois-student-met-20170702-story.html

    "Chinese students, parents share concerns over campus safety in wake of U. of I. kidnapping arrest."

    "Newspapers and social media in China have quoted concerned citizens saying the "lack of
    gun control in America" and "inefficient" police work m ...[text shortened]... ety in the USA.
    To American schools, this is about the money that Chinese students would bring.
    The suit against USC mentioned was dismissed as legally insufficient in 2013. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2013/02/judge-dismissed-wrongful-death-suit-by-parents-of-two-chinese-usc-students.html
  7. Zugzwang
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    04 Jul '17 02:073 edits
    Originally posted by no1marauder
    Duchess: To alarmed Chinese parents, this is about their children's safety in the USA.
    To American schools, this is about the money that Chinese students would bring.

    Presumably Chinese students are attending US universities at least in significant part because doing so will enhance their opportunity for financial gain. So it is histrionic to chasti ...[text shortened]... milar to this. http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/tiananmen-square-massacre-takes-place
    I did *not* chastise American universities for charging Chinese students 'full freight in tuition.
    My point is that American universities have a sufficient financial incentive to attempt to make
    Chinese students or their parents feel safe enough while attending them, even if the murder
    of a non-white foreign student would otherwise attract less concern in the US media.
    (How many American journalists know how to pronounce 'Zhang Yingying' correctly?)

    I know Chinese students far better than No1Marauder does. In China, the reality is that
    only a small minority of secondary school students can enter Chinese state universities.
    So many middle-class Chinese families are willing to spend their life savings,if necessary,
    in order that their children can get university educations outside China. Although the
    opportunity for 'financial gain' may be a motive for Chinese students, it tends to be less
    important than for American students. Some Chinese have made much more money
    as entrepreneurs in China than they would have by pursuing university educations abroad.
  8. Zugzwang
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    04 Jul '17 02:39
    Originally posted by no1marauder
    Duchess: To alarmed Chinese parents, this is about their children's safety in the USA.
    To American schools, this is about the money that Chinese students would bring.

    Presumably Chinese students are attending US universities at least in significant part because doing so will enhance their opportunity for financial gain. So it is histrionic to chasti ...[text shortened]... milar to this. http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/tiananmen-square-massacre-takes-place
    I know more about the 1989 Tiananmen Square events than No1Marauder can get from
    his popular US media sources. I have known some Chinese student activists who were
    there or who supported others who were there. A relative of mine married one of them.

    By the way, when the Chinese government issued an official statement denying that any
    students had been killed inside Tiananmen Square between some specific times, Western
    journalists quickly dismissed it as an outrageous lie. Actually, it probably was technically accurate.
    In Beijing, more people were killed outside than inside Tiananmen Square, and most
    civilians who were killed were not students. Some students obtained weapons, captured
    from soldiers or perhaps even given to them by sympathetic soldiers, and fought back,
    destroying some military vehicles and killing some soldiers.

    One may compare the Tiananmen Square protests to the 1980 student-led uprising in
    Gwangju, Republic of Korea against its brutal right-wing dictatorship (supported by the USA).
    Apparently with the tacit approval of the USA, the South Korean army and police crushed
    the uprising, killing hundreds, perhaps thousands of civilians. According to some sources
    not cited in the Wikipedia article, some female students were raped by soldiers or policemen.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gwangju_Uprising
  9. Zugzwang
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    04 Jul '17 02:48
    Originally posted by no1marauder
    Duchess: To alarmed Chinese parents, this is about their children's safety in the USA.
    To American schools, this is about the money that Chinese students would bring.

    Presumably Chinese students are attending US universities at least in significant part because doing so will enhance their opportunity for financial gain. So it is histrionic to chasti ...[text shortened]... milar to this. http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/tiananmen-square-massacre-takes-place
    Ethnic Chinese have long wondered why, in the land of 'liberty and justice for all', when
    Vincent Chin, a young Chinese-American man, was pursued and brutally beaten to death
    by two white men, the white judge praised their moral characters and sentenced them to
    an extraordinarily lenient sentence. Of course, the answer is racism.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Vincent_Chin

    "They [the convicted killers] served no jail time, were given three years probation,
    fined $3,000 and ordered to pay $780 in court costs."

    For the rest of his life, Judge Charles Kaufman contended that his sentence was appropriate.
    After his death, his daughter told a Chinese-American journalist that she believed that
    his sentence was wrong, but she denied that her father had any racial prejudice.
    She claimed that he would have given the same lenient sentence to two ethnic Chinese men
    who had pursued and beaten to death a white man. I doubt that any Chinese would believe her.

    I expect that few white Americans would remember or care at all about this case.
    But many Chinese have heard it cited as an example of American racism.
  10. Zugzwang
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    05 Jul '17 21:37
    Here's the criminal complaint (legal document) filed against Berndt Christiansen for
    allegedly kidnapping Zhang Yingying.

    http://www.news-gazette.com/sites/all/files/pdf/2017/06/30/christensen_complnt_17-mj-07132_1.pdf
  11. Zugzwang
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    05 Jul '17 22:024 edits
    http://www.news-gazette.com/news/local/2017-07-05/now-bail-denied-christensen-allegedly-described-characteristics-ideal-victim-v

    "NOW: Bail denied; Christensen allegedly described 'characteristics of an ideal victim' at vigil."

    "Among the most serious allegations laid out in the federal criminal complaint, not known publicly until Wednesday:

    — While under surveillance during a Thursday vigil for Ms. Zhang outside Krannert Center
    for the Performing Arts, Christensen allegedly explained the “characteristics of an ideal victim."

    — He was allegedly captured on a recording picking out other potential victims at that same public vigil.

    — There also exists audio of Christensen describing how Ms. Zhang fought and resisted
    when he brought her back to his Champaign apartment.

    — He made a threat to the safety of another person to whom he provided incriminating information."

    "[Judge] Long said the evidence against Christensen "seemed strong.""

    According to the evidence described in the criminal complaint, Berndt Christiansen decided
    to act out his fantasy (which he had explored at a website) of abducting a young woman
    his 'ideal victim", presumably to enjoy raping her and forcing her to become his sex slave.
    He might well have selected Zhang Yingying because many white American men hold
    extremely eroticized stereotypes of East Asian women, perceiving them as very passive,
    obedient, and subservient to men--in short, a perfect sex slave (with a cheaper life to boot).

    American law enforcement officials believe that Zhang Yingying's dead and that Berndt Christiansen murdered her.
    Given that her dead body has not yet been found, however, they have not charged him with murder.
    And the absence of both her dead body and herself as a complaining victim makes it very
    hard, if not impossible, to charge him with raping her, even though it's his most obvious
    motive for abducting her in the first place.

    Could Berndt Christiansen use his presumed knowledge of her dead body's location as a
    'bargaining chip' in negotiating a deal? He could offer to reveal it in exchange for a lighter sentence.
    I doubt that he would consider it, however, unless he became convinced that he would be convicted.

    No matter how apparently overwhelming the evidence, however, his lawyers may have a
    realistic hope of convincing some jurors by attacking the victim and appealing to racism and sexism.
    (Only one hold-out prejudiced juror would be needed to hang the jury.) I would not be too
    surprised to hear Berndt Christiansen's lawyers argue (appealing to ignorant stereotypes)
    that Zhang Yingying was a repressed Chinese woman who was secretly eager to taste
    the 'forbidden fruit' of sexual intercourse with a 'superior' white man and therefore she went
    willingly to his home and her death occurred as a tragic accident during consensual rough sex.
    Some juror(s) might share Bernt Christiansen's alleged fantasies and be sympathetic toward him.
  12. Subscriberno1marauder
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    05 Jul '17 23:27
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    http://www.news-gazette.com/news/local/2017-07-05/now-bail-denied-christensen-allegedly-described-characteristics-ideal-victim-v

    "NOW: Bail denied; Christensen allegedly described 'characteristics of an ideal victim' at vigil."

    "Among the most serious allegations laid out in the federal criminal complaint, not known publicly until Wednesday:

    — Whi ...[text shortened]...
    Some juror(s) might share Bernt Christiansen's alleged fantasies and be sympathetic toward him.
    Perhaps one should wait until the case is a little further along before fantasizing how it will wind up as a miscarriage of justice because of the outrageous racism of white males.
  13. Zugzwang
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    06 Jul '17 01:522 edits
    Originally posted by no1marauder
    Perhaps one should wait until the case is a little further along before fantasizing how it will wind up as a miscarriage of justice because of the outrageous racism of white males.
    No1Marauder again puts words into my mouth.

    I wrote nothing about the end ('wind up' to quote No1Marauder) of Brendt Christiansen's trial.
    I just suggested a line of defense that his lawyers might try if they were afraid that they
    could not prevail by arguing strictly about the facts. As I recall, No1Marauder always has
    supported defense lawyers zealously attempting any argument allowed by the judge.
    And in cases of rape (though, without a dead body or a living victim, there may be insufficient
    evidence to charge Brendt Christiansen with rape), it's a common defense lawyer's tactic
    (doesn't No1Marauder approve?) to blame the victim and attack her character as much as possible.

    I would hope that in the 2017 USA this kind of outrageous appeal to a jury's racism and sexism would fail.
    But in 2016 most white men and most white women voted for the outrageously racist and sexist Donald Trump.

    Does No1Marauder dispute that making racist appeals to all-white juries often has succeeded?
    If Zhang Yingying were black, even No1Marauder might suspect racism could an influence in her case.

    Does No1Marauder believe that Judge Kaufmann definitely showed no racial prejudice in
    sentencing the two white men who chased down and killed Vincent Chin to "no jail time,
    ..three years probation, fined $3,000 and ordered to pay $780 in court costs" (Wikipedia)?

    "What kind of law is this? What kind of justice? This happened because my son is Chinese.
    If two Chinese killed a white person, they must go to jail, maybe for their whole lives...
    Something is wrong with this country [USA]."
    --Lily Chin (mother of Vincent Chin)

    Before her son was murdered, Lily Chin had planned to spend the rest of her life in the USA.
    Declaring there was no justice in the USA, she returned to China (which she had left decades ago).
    There's a video showing her sobbing at her son's grave, visiting it for the last time before leaving the USA.
  14. Zugzwang
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    06 Jul '17 02:04
    Originally posted by Duchess64 to No1Marauder
    I did *not* chastise American universities for charging Chinese students 'full freight in tuition.
    My point is that American universities have a sufficient financial incentive to attempt to make
    Chinese students or their parents feel safe enough while attending them, even if the murder
    of a non-white foreign student would otherwise attrac ...[text shortened]... money
    as entrepreneurs in China than they would have by pursuing university educations abroad.
    According to Chinese sources, Zhang Yingying's grieving father feels guilty, blaming himself
    for having allowed her to study in the USA. Reportedly, he said that if by some miracle,
    she's found alive, he would insist on taking her home with him to China immediately.
    That's an overreaction, but it may be understandable under the tragic circumstances.

    Some universities refund a student's tuition for that year if a student's killed during that year.
    If Zhang Yingying paid any tuition, it seems to me that the least that the University of Illinois
    could do for her family would be to refund it. But that may have to await her death certificate.

    "How many American journalists know how to pronounce 'Zhang Yingying' correctly?"
    --Duchess64

    It has been brought to my attention that a major American national television broadcaster (not Fox News)
    persistently massacred the pronunciation of her name. Chinese dialects are tonal languages,
    and I don't expect non-Chinese speakers to come close to speaking the tones accurately.
    But this journalist severely mispronounced even the consonants in her Romanized (pinyin) family name.
  15. Subscriberno1marauder
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    06 Jul '17 02:06
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    No1Marauder again puts words into my mouth.

    I wrote nothing about the end ('wind up' to quote No1Marauder) of Brendt Christiansen's trial.
    I just suggested a line of defense that his lawyers might try if they were afraid that they
    could not prevail by arguing strictly about the facts. As I recall, No1Marauder always has
    supported defense lawyers ze ...[text shortened]... eo showing her sobbing at her son's grave, visiting it for the last time before leaving the USA.
    Since you know virtually nothing about the law, you have to resort to wild speculation.

    I choose not to. The case is at a very early stage and guesses about what defense might be used against charges that, so far, haven't even been filed are premature to say the least.

    Vincent Chin's 35 year old case has little to do with the present one.
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