Earlier this week, Jian Hui Liu and his wife Zheng Ya Ru were in a Toronto court as 32-year-old Brian Dickson was found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of their daughter, Qian Liu.
Liu had been chatting via webcam with her ex-boyfriend in China in the early morning hours of April 15, 2011, when he saw a man force his way into her room and knock her down. She was later found dead in her room.
Her father says he was “relieved” to hear the verdict but in an interview with CBC’s Metro Morning, said more could be done to ensure the safety of foreign students.
“More Chinese students arrive in Toronto every year at a young age,” he said, in Mandarin, to CBC’s Lu Zhou. “Most of them lack life experience and are not aware of safety issues. Student safety is not one student, one school or one police department's responsibility. It takes a collective effort.”
He noted that, in China, rental houses like the one Qian lived in often have public phones.
“We couldn't help but wonder, if there was one in Qian's house perhaps we could have called, to wake someone up to check on her. Perhaps police would have been alerted sooner and the story would have been different,” he said.
The murder and the disturbing details of the trial have taken a heavy toll on the couple. They now make a weekly, three-hour trek to a cemetery outside of Beijing to visit Qian’s resting place.
It is “the only time I find peace,” said Zheng.
Qian and her mother spoke daily via webcam.
“Qian and I used to talk every day at a certain time,” she said. “After she died, whenever the time came or when I couldn't sleep at night I would turn on my computer — as if my daughter would somehow appear on the screen saying 'Hi mom, I'm here.'"
“It's not easy to get up every morning and bury our sorrow inside,” she added.