Student gets threats after China protest
Personal info for student, parents posted online
By: Zachary Tracer
For one Chinese Duke student, Wednesday's pro-Tibet and pro-China protests
did not end when the participants went home.
Since her appearance in front of the Chapel, the student, who requested
anonymity because she fears retaliation, has found herself the target of a
wave of threatening messages from individuals who believe she advocated for
After the protests, the student's personal information, including her name,
phone number and Chinese identity number were posted to the Duke Chinese
Scholars and Students Association Web site, according to documents obtained
by The Chronicle. Photographs and a video of the student from the rally have
also been posted on several popular Chinese-language forums.
"I received all kinds of weird e-mails and phone calls," she said. "I think
it is all thanks to the DCSSA, who released all kinds of information."
DCSSA President Zhizhong Li, a third-year graduate student in molecular
cancer biology, denied DCSSA involvement in publicizing the student's
information but acknowledged that messages containing the information had
been sent over the group's open e-mail listserv. The messages have since
been deleted to protect the student, he said.
"I do not think they are from our organization," Li said. "We definitely don
't support [the threats]."
The student said she has received some messages calling for her to be burned
alive with oil.
She said she filed a report with the Duke University Police Department
"I think this is not the time to die for my country," the student said. "I
love my life."
DUPD has increased patrols around the student's dormitory and has offered
her personal protection, which she declined, said DUPD Maj. Gloria Graham.
"She did report to us that there were some general threats made to her, or
things she perceived to be threats," Graham said. "We take harassing phone
call and e-mail cases all the time. I think we are all a little bit more
alarmed about this case."
Though the student said she realized the dangers of participating in the
rally, she said she felt strongly about being involved.
"I think this is one of the turning points of Chinese history, and I want to
be part of it," she said, emphasizing that she does not support Tibetan
The student said there have also been consequences for her actions in China.
"I know that I am on the Chinese government blacklist because of this," she
said, explaining that she had been informed of this by sources she declined
to name. "It just means I can never go back to China if I care about my
security. If I go back I might end up in jail forever."
But Li dismissed the student's concerns about not being allowed back into
"People talk about that all the time and no matter," he said.
The student's parents have also been targeted. Their contact information was
posted on several popular Chinese-language Internet forums. Some Internet
sources said their home was attacked, though the student said she has been
unable to confirm this with her parents, who declined to discuss the issue
when she contacted them via e-mail.
At Duke, the leaders of several student organizations-including College
Republicans, the Duke Conservative Union, Duke Democrats, Students for
Academic Freedom, Duke Human Rights Coalition, Duke Students for an Ethical
Duke and the Duke-Israel Public Affairs Committee-have come together to
condemn the threats against the Chinese student, according to a statement.
They have blamed the threats on DCSSA and called for an investigation of the
group and a revocation of its student group status.
"[DCSSA] on their official Web site put up her... information for no other
reason than to make sure that there would be retributive action in China,"
said junior Daniel Cordero, vice president of College Republicans and
organizer of the coalition to condemn intimidation tactics.
Li said he would like to discuss the issue with the organizations calling to
disband DCSSA and said he hoped the threats toward the student would stop.