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April 16, 2013

China Mourns Boston Bombing Victim

by William Ide

Chinese authorities are declining to disclose the name of the Chinese student confirmed as the third victim in the Boston Marathon bombing.  But Internet users and Chinese media outlets have gone ahead and identified her as Lu Lingzi, a graduate student at Boston University who had a passion for finance, music and cooking.
 
Condolences and remembrances filled Chinese social media sites Wednesday as internet users discussed her fate and the authorities’ reluctance to identify her.
 
​​Her last posting on China’s Twitter-like service Weibo Monday morning, before she went to the marathon, was of bread and fruit under the title: “my wonderful breakfast!”

Nearly 20,000 Weibo account holders have already posted responses to the photo in her remembrance, including small candles and the words Rest in Peace.
 
Lu and another Chinese national, Zhou Danling, who is also a graduate student at Boston University, were near the finish line when the bombs exploded.
 
Zhou was injured in the blast, but is now in stable condition after receiving treatment on Monday and Tuesday.

Lu’s hometown is in the northeastern city of Shenyang, in China’s Liaoning province.
 
On its Weibo account, the Shenyang Evening News also confirmed that Lu was the third victim. The posting - which was later removed - said that Lu’s father confirmed his daughter’s death when reporters visited their home.
 
The Shenyang Evening News ran pictures of Lu on their cover Wednesday, with a headline that read “Shenyang girl missing, Stay Safe.”
 
China’s state-run Xinhua news agency has also run a story with a headline that confirms Lu as the third victim. However the story provided few other details.
 
Chinese censors routinely scrub mentions of sensitive or controversial events from media outlets and websites, but apparently have done little to stop the conversation about Lu Lingzi.  
 
Friends of Lu have been reaching out to her and others in Boston since Monday. Some were still in disbelief that she was the one who died, and were holding out until a name was released by authorities.
 
One user “on the road”  wrote: "as long as a name has not been released it is not her."

Other Weibo users wondered why the government was not releasing the name and speculated that Lu must be the daughter of some official or wealthy Chinese family.
 
Others dismissed the theories, saying details about her and her family are now widely available online, and there is no mystery around her identity.
 
The children of some of China’s top officials study in the United States under pseudonyms, including the daughter of President Xi Jinping and the son of fallen politician Bo Xilai.  They are among more than 194,000 Chinese students studying in American schools during the 2011-2012 academic year, according to the Institute of International Education.

Photo Gallery: Boston Marathon Explosions

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