Chinese culture in Tong Shao's case - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Chinese culture in Tong Shao's case

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

Even a world away, the Tong Shao investigation is on the minds of many, and making headlines in Chinese media.

"Families obviously are hoping their children return to the family," said political science and internationals studies professor Wenfang Tang. "In this case the families definitely want to know what really happened to the girl.

Professor Tang, who also studies Chinese culture says parents who send their children to study abroad value safety.

He says when it comes to coping with death it's just like American culture, not easy to deal with.

The Johnson County Crisis Center says the cultural barriers sometime makes it hard for Chinese students to talk about situations like death, so they've expanded their mandarin-language crisis services.

"There definitely can be a stigma in that community for reaching out to help, which is why thought crisis service would be a good option for them," said Rachel Beach, Johnson County Crisis chat program coordinator.

Meanwhile professor Tang says when it comes to seeking justice, Chinese culture focuses more on the punishment and not the legal process.

"[The legal process] sometimes is less important than the end result," said Tang. [Shao's] family for instance. If the parents want to seek justice, they may use public opinion to press the Chinese government to cooperate with the U.S.

Currently, Iowa City Police say Xiangnan Li, 23, is believed to be back in China, and they're still only calling him a person of interest and not a suspect at this point.

However Tang says enough public outcry over there in China could send Li right back to the U.S.

"I think there is a good chance, and it really depends on how the public opinion. They want to find justice in this case, even if they have to go stir up public opinion, public support," said Tang.

He says he's sure this case will continue to get publicity in China until Shao's family gets justice.

The United States does not have an extradition treaty with China, but since Li is not a suspect, police in Iowa City say they are not concerned about that, at least at this time.

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