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Experts Discuss Disappearance of PKUSZ Graduate Zhang Yingying

On October 30, STL hosted a panel of experts to discuss the case of missing Peking University Shenzhen (PKUSZ) graduate Zhang Yingying, who graduated in 2016 with a master’s degree in environmental engineering. She disappeared in early June 2017 while studying as a visiting scholar at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, in the United States.  A University of Illinois post-graduate student has been charged with her kidnapping and criminal proceedings are under way.  Zhang Yingying remains missing.

The panel of experts invited to discuss the case surrounding Zhang Yingying’s disappearance included Wang Zhidong, a senior lawyer representing Zhang Yingying’s family, and Dr. Liu Shiquan, a noted forensic scientist.  Both guests shared their findings before a standing-room only audience of students and professors from STL and the entire PKUSZ community, as well as several practicing lawyers and interested members of the public.  The program was organized and moderated by STL Distinguished Professor from Practice, Dr. Thomas Yunlong Man, a scholar of comparative evidence.  The event was broadcast live by Southern Metropolitan Daily, a Shenzhen-based news outlet.

Wang Zhidong is the founder and managing partner at Wang, Leonard & Condon, and is a nationally-acclaimed immigration attorney.  As a member of the team representing Zhang Yingying’s family, he plays an important role as a public spokesperson on behalf of the family.  He devoted most of his remarks to a discussion about the procedural process relating to the prosecution of the suspect, covering several important issues such as federal jurisdiction, death penalty, changes in the defense teams and strategies and prospects of a criminal conviction.

Dr. Shiquan, aided by detailed photographic analysis, offered an explanation of the police and FBI investigative processes.  He shared insights into the cooperation between Chinese police and the FBI that he helped to coordinate and that resulted in critical leads to identify the suspect.  Dr. Shiquan earned his Ph.D degree from People’s Public Security University of China and is a post-doctoral fellow at China University of Political Science and Law.  He is responsible for crime scene investigation and evidence identification and has been involved in numerous high-profile cases.

Following the presentations by Wang Zhidong and Dr. Shiquan, a prominent local criminal lawyer, Mr. Liu Hui, offered brief comments focusing on the differences between U.S. and Chinese criminal proceedings.

The experts then took questions from the audience.  The Q&A was extremely engaged and from time to time emotional as several of Zhang Yingying’s former classmates recalled their relationship with her and asked how they might assist in the effort to solve her case.

The program also included extensive participation by several STL students who worked under the supervision of Professor Man to prepare background information to help guide the audience through the nuances of the case.