Even without Luka Rocco Magnotta, Canada is not a safe place: that's the narrative you'd be receiving if you read the Chinese newspapers or internet chat rooms this weekend.
The grisly killing of Lin Jun — a 33-year-old Chinese student living in Montreal — allegedly at the hands of fugitive Magnotta, has provoked widespread anger in China, where many believe the crime was racially motivated.
Lin's torso was found in a suitcase in a Montreal alley last week. The other body parts, including a hand and foot, were mailed to the offices of political parties in Ottawa.
According to the Globe and Mail's Beijing-based reporter Mark MacKinnon, the story now dominates internet discussions in that country — Lin's personal account on Weibo (a popular Chinese social-networking site) was the most searched-for page on the sina.com web portal. The number two search was for the latest news of the case.
A lot of the commentary, according to MacKinnon, questions public safety in Canada, especially since this was the second killing of a Chinese student in just over a year. Last April, York University student Liu Qian was killed in Toronto.
"The impact of the case will be very bad on Canada," Meng Xiaochao, the boyfriend of Liu, told one Chinese newspaper in an interview. "Last year when Liu Qian's case happened, many parents said they were no longer willing to send their children to Canada. Now here comes this other case."
On the website of the China Daily News, China's largest English Language newspaper, readers also voiced their anger about the lack of public safety in Canada.
One poster named Superman suggested: "Canada discriminated against China for several years."
"The evidence states that Canada imposed a head tax on Chinese for several years," he wrote. "A Chinese female was murdered in Vancouver in December and Li[n] Jun was murdered in Montreal. Canada has NOT changed."
Sinbad wrote: "Chinese students going to study overseas must learn from the many tragic deaths of Chinese students in overseas countries over the past few years that personal security in many countries are not so good as in China."
Meanwhile, in the midst of the anger, Chinese officials have issued a safety alert to its citizens in Canada.
"The Chinese Embassy in Canada reminds Chinese citizens travelling in Canada, as well as students and the staff of Chinese organizations in Canada, to improve their self-protection [and] awareness, and to strengthen their personal security," reads the final paragraph of the Embassy's Chinese-language statement on Lin's murder.
Ultimately, the grisly murder of Lin could mean a public relations nightmare for Canadian universities and colleges. According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, there were 200,000 international students studying in Canada in 2009, contributing more than $6.5 billion to the economy. A total of 25 per cent of the international students were from China.
Update on Magnotta Manhunt:
There is growing evidence that Magnotta is in France.
The Canadian Press is reporting that French officials are investigating claims by two people who believe they saw Magnotta in recent days.
In addition, French police reported Sunday that personal belongings of Magnotta were found in a hotel in suburban Paris. The reports say police discovered pornographic magazines as well as air sickness bags from the airplane he took to Paris from Montreal.
It was unclear whether Magnotta was still in the Paris area on Sunday, but French media reported that authorities had beefed up their presence at railway stations and airports.