Chinese female student Zhang Yao died after being hit by train in Rome in pursuit of muggers

By Erin Chew

Gosh, this has been happening way too often. I feel I have read and written about too many Chinese students dying horrendously in the West and Europe lately. This time its Rome’s turn. Aspiring fashion designer, 20 year old Zhang Yao was fatally hit by a train whilst in pursuit of muggers who snatched her bag. She had just left the Police centre in Rome to renew her residency permit, and I would say in my opinion this is one of the primary reasons for her being so adamantly in pursuit of her muggers.

She hasn’t been in Rome long. She arrived in March this year from China to attend Rome’s Academy of the Fine Arts, so its so sad to hear that this has happened. South China Morning Post writes:

On December 5, Zhang had just left the police complex in the largely industrial Tor Sapienza neighbourhood on Rome’s outskirts which issues and renews residency permits to foreigners when three young men snatched her bag. Friends said she called them with her cellphone to report what had happened and plead for help while apparently trying to regain her documents.

Media broadcast footage from an industrial company’s surveillance camera that showed Zhang, looking dazed near tracks at the local train station. First one train whizzes by and then another one struck her as she spoke on the phone. Her bloodied body was found on December 9 in a ditch, where it apparently landed after being struck by the train. The train crew apparently was unaware the woman was struck.

Police are looking for a trio of young men or boys shown on the surveillance cameras, Italian media said.

Zhang’s father thought she had been kidnapped and was expecting a ransom demand. I feel deep sadness reading this as well as reading about how she was found. She was found in a ditch all bloodied, I just can’t imagine the pain her family and friends must be feeling. My question is why the muggers sought and targeted her? Was it that they saw young, naive Chinese women as an easy target? Or did they deem that because she is Chinese therefore she must be rich and that is why she got mugged? Many questions need to be asked and I question the safety of young Asian female students in the West and Europe. I mean this is like the 4th or 5th instance of an unnecessary death – Michelle Leng in Australia who was allegedly murdered brutally by her own uncle, Li Yangjie who was raped and murdered by a German couple, and all the safety concerns in NZ with Chinese international students. Something is clearly wrong and all of this never ends well.

May Zhang Yao rest in peace, and let’s hope justice is served, and these pieces of shit muggers are found and charged.

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