BEIJING, July 14 (Xinhua) -- Chinese netizens have expressed indignation and condemnation over the kidnapping of Zhang Yingying, a visiting Chinese scholar at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), expecting the U.S. judiciary to bring the criminal to justice.
Chinese government and people, including the netizens, have been paying close attention to the development of the kidnapping case. Her name was searched 574,700 times on China's Twitter-like Weibo in the last 24 hours, ranking second in searches.
Zhang, 26, went missing on June 9 after she got into a black Saturn Astra car about five blocks from where she got off a bus as she was heading to an apartment complex to sign a lease.
U.S. law enforcement investigating Zhang's case believes she is dead, based on facts uncovered during the ongoing investigation and presented in court.
Some netizens questioned the statement. "The police judgment is way too hasty," said a netizen called Qiqu on Weibo. "They shouldn't jump to the conclusion if the body is still missing."
"I just feel Zhang is still out there somewhere. She might be detained. I wish the police could find her as soon as possible," said a netizen surnamed Jinchi at the People's Daily Online.
Some showed their belief in the U.S. legal system, but feared that the suspect could be released since he has so far remained silent.
"I wish for a miracle, and we should push for continuous search of Yingying by the police, follow the case and offer help to Yingying's family in follow-up matters," a netizen nicknamed Xingdao wrote on messaging service WeChat.
Brendt Christensen, 28, a University of Illinois graduate student from Wisconsin, is accused of luring Zhang into his car and then holding her hostage in his apartment. Zhang has not been seen since, and the suspect has not said anything during court hearing.
Christensen was first arrested and charged on June 30. U.S. Magistrate Judge Eric Long ordered that Christensen remain in custody pending trial and denied request for bail on July 5.
However, some netizens feared the American police had not tried hard enough.
"Why haven't the U.S. police tracked down any valuable evidence to pin down the suspect in the past month? Aren't there many surveillance cameras in America?" a netizen called Annie wrote on WeChat.
Many chose to see the judicial process with a more rational attitude.
"The defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty," said Weibo netizen Bankou. "Without finding the body, the suspect cannot be convicted. The plaintiff lawyer and law enforcement are doing their best to prove that Zhang is dead and was murdered by the suspect."