On Wednesday the Chinese Consulate in New York revealed the tragic news that a Chinese student was the third person killed by the bomb blast that rocked the Boston Marathon on Monday.
The name of the student was withheld by the consulate at the request of her family. Some media outlets have revealed the student’s name, but Boston University has dismissed the reports as incorrect.
While the name of the student has not been officially disclosed, what is known is that she was a bright 23-year-old graduate student who studied statistics at Boston University and dreamed of a career in finance.Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.
Before the heartrending news broke of her death, a number of the girl’s friends and classmates were already busy searching for answers on Weibo. One posted a phone number and this plea: “Help us find her! We can’t find her!” Her father also expressed concern on Tuesday to the Shenyang Evening News: “We haven’t been able to contact her. Why didn’t she make a call to tell us she’s safe?”
News of the student’s death first broke, as many stories do in China, via Weibo. Liaoshen Evening News, in her hometown of Shenyang, posted a message that read, “Shenyang girl… was killed in the Boston bomb blast.”
In the hours after news of her death was widely reported by mainstream media, more than 10,000 messages appeared on her Weibo account under a picture she had posted of her breakfast from that morning, a bowl of fried Chinese bread. “My wonderful breakfast,” read the caption under the image.
Messages of condolence soon poured in: “An innocent victim of terrorist attack,” wrote Zhakutahetu_Dazhi. “I don’t want to believe it is true,” wrote another.
The victim had gone to the race with two friends. One of them was another Chinese student named Zhou Danling, who was also injured but survived the explosion. Zhou is a graduate student in actuarial science at Boston University. Of Zhou’s condition, the consulate revealed by email on Tuesday that “She cannot talk now but can communicate with pen and paper.” According to a statement released by Boston University, a third student was unharmed.
At a press briefing on Tuesday, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters, “We extend our deep condolences and sincere regards to the victims and their relatives.”