Father of slain Chinese scholar selling goods online
Zhang Ronggao, the father of a visiting Chinese scholar at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who was murdered in 2017, is supporting his family by selling goods on Douyin, the Chinese equivalent of TikTok.
"Six years have passed since Zhang Yingying's case, and we've been through a lot in that time," Zhang Ronggao said in a Douyin video. "Today, our lives are slowly returning to normal."
Zhang Ronggao said he returned to his job, while Yingying's brother started working. But Yingying's mother is not doing well.
"Her stomach is in poor condition," Zhang Ronggao said. "She feels uncomfortable while eating, and her teeth are loose, so she can only rest at home."
Zhang Ronggao described his livestream commerce as a way to "sustain the family" and save up for plane tickets.
"We hope to travel to the United States to be with her. Despite the high cost of the plane tickets, we are doing our best to bring our family together."
He thanked those who assisted the family during livestreaming and comments.
Douyin users have offered support and solace to Zhang.
"I hope you and your family are taking good care of yourselves! Let go of the calamitous past," one post said.
Another person remarked that "If I need the products, I will purchase them from you. Yingying is someone I admire despite the fact that I have never met her."
Some others, however, have accused Zhang Ronggao of trying to profit from his loss.
Zhang Yingying, a visiting scholar at UIUC, went missing on June 9, 2017, after getting into a black Saturn Astra vehicle.
On June 30, the FBI arrested Brendt Christensen and charged him with kidnapping, which resulted in Zhang's death, and two counts of making false statements to FBI agents.
Christensen was sentenced to life in prison without parole.