The Chinese Consulate and the Vancouver Police Department have teamed up on a campaign to prevent about 20,000 international Chinese students studying here from becoming a victim of crime.
But both consular general Liu Fei and Police Chief Jim Chu say the campaign was not prompted by any surge in crime to visiting Chinese students or the horrific death of Lin Jun in Montreal in May.
“No connection,” the chief said at a press conference at the Cambie Street police station Thursday. “You always think of everything that happens but that wasn’t the specific incident that spurred this initiative.”
Jun, an international student from China, was studying computer science at Concordia University when he was killed and his body dismembered.
Police confirmed some of his body parts were mailed to two Vancouver schools. Luka Rocco Magnotta has been charged in connection with Jun’s murder.
The chief said the campaign is a result of Fei, who was posted to the Vancouver consulate seven months ago, wanting to do something proactive for students.
The campaign includes a short video in Mandarin done with the assistance of the Chinese community policing centre and a brochure that outlines safety tips for students and how to contact police.
The video can be viewed on the websites of the consulate and the VPD. English-as-a-second language schools also have access to the video and brochures.
Students from Simon Fraser University and the University of B.C. participated in discussions that led to the campaign, Fei told reporters.
“The main purpose is to advise the Chinese students to look after themselves, to obey the local laws and order and to do good study,” she said, noting she recently returned from visiting seven cities in B.C., including Kamloops and Kelowna, where she promoted the campaign.
The press conference attracted several reporters from Chinese media outlets. Fei urged the media to publicize the campaign but stressed Canada remains a safe place for Chinese students to study.
One reporter asked the chief about reports that some visiting Chinese students were getting involved in drug dealing and prostitution.
“I can say that there haven’t been many at all, despite what you might have heard, ” Chu said. “Every segment of the community may have people that cross the line. There’s nothing unusual happening right now in the Chinese community.”
But, he said, he recalled a case four years ago where an international Chinese student “fell in with the wrong crowd” and was kidnapped for ransom.
Sgt. Terry Yung, the VPD’s liaison to the consulate, said he has investigated crimes in the past where Chinese students were targeted.
“They were told by the suspect that because you’re not a Canadian citizen, nor a permanent resident, police might not be as interested in helping you,” he said. “We’re here to put the record straight. The Vancouver police reaches out to all members of the community, regardless of whether you’re an international student.”