Chinese overseas

Parents of Chinese student found dead in London face anxious wait for results of her autopsy

Cousin of Yan Sihong says family has appealed for privacy after being told coroner’s findings ‘may take some time’

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 01 March, 2018, 8:15pm
UPDATED : Friday, 02 March, 2018, 5:47pm

The family of the Chinese student who was found dead at her home in London on Wednesday is still waiting for the results of her autopsy, according to friends and relatives.

Police in the British capital said they discovered the body of Yan Sihong, a 35-year-old doctoral student at King’s College London, at an address in Westminster.

“We are still waiting for the autopsy report, and the coroners told us it may take some time,” Yan’s cousin, who declined to give her name, told the South China Morning Post.

“Yan has already gone,” said a former classmate, who wanted to be known only by her surname Zhang. “We want her to rest in peace.”

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Although police said on Wednesday that Yan’s death was not being treated as suspicious, Zhang said they had yet to provide any specific information about how she died.

A police spokesman told the Post on Thursday that after it had been determined that the death did not “involve any crime”, the case was passed to the Westminster Coroner’s Court. The court did not immediately reply to the Post’s requests for comment.

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Yan’s cousin said relatives would issue a statement once they had received the results of the autopsy, but in the meantime had asked for the media to respect their privacy.

Kerry Brown, a professor of Chinese studies and director of the Lau China Institute at King’s, where Yan had been studying, said her death had come as “a terrible shock”.

“Sihong was a bright, ambitious and energetic student,” he wrote in a Facebook post on Wednesday night. “She had great aptitude and focus, and only last month passed her upgrade [from MPhil to PhD] with a spirited defence of her work so far.”

Yan, who hailed from Shenyang, capital of northeastern China’s Liaoning province, had been at the institute, which specialises in the study of modern China, since September 2016. She moved there after completing an MBA at the Emlyon Business School in France, according to the Chinese Students and Scholars Association at King’s.

Her profile page on the French school’s website said Yan had a passion for travel and was a certified scuba diver.

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The Chinese embassy in London said that her family reported her missing to police on Monday, after not hearing from her since February 16. In the days before the discovery of her body, Yan’s parents had appealed to China’s internet community for help in finding her.

Meanwhile, the embassy on Thursday dismissed claims made on social media that a Chinese student named Rong Luqi at Imperial College London had also gone missing.

There was “no Chinese student surnamed Rong” studying material science at the school as had been rumoured, it said in a statement.