HONG KONG – Chinese social media users responded with an outpouring of grief over the news that one of their countryman was among those lost in the bomb attacks in faraway Boston on Monday. Thousands of microbloggers have left messages at the Weibo page (China’s version of Twitter) of Lu Lingzi, who was confirmed late Tuesday as one of the three individuals killed in the attacks.
A native from the northeastern Chinese city of Shenyang, Lu was among a group of three Boston University foreign exchange students from China who went to watch the Boston Marathon on Monday. After the blasts, Zhou Danling, also in the group, was confirmed as among those injured and hospitalized, while Lu was classified as “missing” in Chinese media.
With the university confirming Tuesday that one of its students was killed in the attacks — but the Chinese consulate declining to reveal the victim’s identity because of the objections of her family — the Chinese media began circulating reports about Lu’s probable death. An editor of the Shenyang Evening News then visited the young woman’s family and received confirmation of her passing directly from her father, according to the Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post.
Internet users in China first collectively scrambled to find Lu’s Weibo account, looking to learn more about the missing student and hoping that she might post an update to prove her well-being. But new entries never materialized. Her last post was written Monday morning, comprising a picture of her eating a fruit salad, and a caption about “my wonderful breakfast.”
Lu was the most searched-for subject on Sina’s website yesterday, generating 100,131 hits – about 10,000 more than searches for Sita Chan Hei-yi, the young Hong Kong pop singer who died in a car crash in her home city Wednesday morning — and event that has also dominated Chinese press.
While the Chinese media has been giving extensive coverage to the bomb attacks, some of the country’s big stars have also expressed their shock and sadness over the incident.
Action film star Donnie Yen, who grew up in Boston and whose parents still live in the city, said he’s “heartbroken” and “angered” by the attacks. “Those who did such malicious acts are not human, they should be sent to hell and receive divine retribution,” he told the Hong Kong press Tuesday.