MONTREAL - The parents of Jun Lin took part in an emotional public memorial on Saturday as Montreal's Chinese community gathered to remember the student two months after he was brutally killed.
Lin's mother, Zhigui Du, gave a heart-wrenching address at a Montreal church that brought many in the pews to tears. At times, she showed remarkable resolve standing at the pulpit, and other times weeped uncontrollably as she recalled her only son.
"When a child dies, a parent's heart dies too," Du said in Mandarin, and an interpreter translated into French. "He is gone. He was taken so fast."
Lin, a 33-year-old Chinese national studying in Montreal, was killed and dismembered two months ago in a gruesome case that shocked people around the world. Luka Rocco Magnotta has pleaded not guilty to several charges in connection with Lin's death, including a count of first-degree murder.
Friends of Lin and members of Montreal's tight-knit Chinese community were among those at the church service, held in a quiet city suburb. Some residents with no connection to the family, such as retiree Linda Myers Hall, also attended to show their support.
"It's very sad, we all know," said Hall, who teaches English to Chinese immigrants at a community centre not far from the church.
"But this should not be an occasion where we should doubt that there is compassion in this city."
In her lengthy address at the church, Du said Lin was excited about his future in Canada, and was a peaceful man "who loved people and animals." Du also spoke of the evolution of her own faith, and said she had found some solace since getting baptized in Montreal last week.
"Today, we pray for peace in Montreal," she said, thanking the local congregation for helping organize the memorial.
"It's because of you that the community was brought together."
Du and her husband, Daran Lin, have been staying in Montreal since last month. Local outreach groups have helped them with translation services and a place to stay.
Lin was a computer science student at Concordia University, and the school has raised more than $70,000 in Lin's name to support his family and Chinese students.
Angela Huang, a recent graduate of Concordia who helps Chinese immigrants adapt to the city, was one of several young Chinese Montrealers at the ceremony. Huang said she and her friends are still trying to come to grips with what happened.
"The fact that somebody so close to me is a victim of this kind of event..." she said.
"I worry about the whole city because somebody like him — the killer — actually does exist."
Pastor Thomas Chan said the killing was a tragedy not only for the Lin family, but for all of Montreal and Canada.
"It would be irresponsible to look for quick answers, and try to give the Lin family a quick fix," he said in a sermon.
A private funeral has been scheduled for Lin next Thursday in Montreal.