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The murder of Yang Xin was an incident that took place on 21 January 2009 at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) in Blacksburg, Virginia, United States. Yang Xin, a 22-year-old Chinese graduate student who had just arrived from Beijing on January 8,[1] was decapitated with a kitchen knife in a cafe on the campus. Fellow student Zhu Haiyang (朱海洋), 25, was arrested at the scene.[2][3][4] Zhu and Yang had known one another.[2] Zhu was charged with first degree murder[5] and was subsequently convicted and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Yang had previously graduated from Memorial University of Newfoundland in 2007.[citation needed]

Two years earlier, Virginia Tech had also been the scene of the Virginia Tech massacre.

University president Charles W. Steger said that he was troubled by racist comments attacking foreigners in e-mail, on blogs and in letters to the editor. He also said that foreign students are extremely under-represented in crime compared to their number.[6][7][8]

A grand jury certified the murder charge against Haiyang Zhu on July 22. On December 21, 2009, Zhu plead guilty to the charges.[9] On April 19th, 2010, he was sentenced to life in prison without parole in Montgomery County Circuit Court.[10]


  1. "Student killed in cafe knife attack". Irish Independent. 2009-01-23. http://www.independent.ie/world-news/hain-ordered-to-make-an-apology-1611761.html. Retrieved 2009-01-31.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Lindsey, Sue (2009-01-22). "Police search homes of Va. Tech victim, suspect". Kansas City Star / Associated Press. http://www.kansascity.com/440/story/996911.html. Retrieved 2009-01-31.[dead link]
  3. "Virginia Tech Murder: Graduate student decapitated". WSLS-TV. 2009-01-22. http://www.wsls.com/sls/news/local/new_river_valley/article/virginia_tech_murder_graduate_student_decapitated/25622/. Retrieved 2009-01-31.
  4. "中国留学生凶案 凶犯据称毕业于水产大学" (in Chinese). news365.com.cn. 2009-01-24. http://www.news365.com.cn/xwzx/gj/200901/t20090124_2176548.htm. Retrieved 2009-01-31.
  5. "Charge against Virginia Tech murder suspect moves forward". WSLS-TV. 2009-08-03. http://www.wsls.com/sls/news/local/new_river_valley/article/charge_against_virginia_tech_murder_suspect_moves_forward/42808/. Retrieved 2009-08-06.
  6. "Virginia: Comments Prompt Letter". The New York Times / AP: pp. A20. 2009-02-05. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/05/us/05brfs-002.html. Retrieved 2009-02-12.
  7. Bowman, Rex (2009-02-05). "Steger: Do not condemn all Asians". The News & Advance. http://www.newsadvance.com/lna/news/state_regional/article/steger_do_not_condemn_all_asians/13164/. Retrieved 2009-02-12.
  8. "Virginia Tech head defends diversity after racist e-mails". Taipei Times / AP: pp. 7. 2009-02-06. http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/world/archives/2009/02/06/2003435395. Retrieved 2009-02-12.
  9. Morrison, Shawna (21 December 2009). "Former Va. Tech student pleads guilty to murder". Roanoke Times. http://www.roanoke.com/news/nrv/breaking/wb/230456. Retrieved 29 December 2009.
  10. "Zhu sentenced to life for brutal Virginia Tech murder". Roanoke Times. 19 April 2010. http://www.roanoke.com/news/nrv/breaking/wb/243909. Retrieved 19 April 2010.