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Sunday, 10 May 2009

The irony is thick. In a story about the National Liaison Committee of International Students and its poor relations with NSW universities, reporter Heath Gilmore demonstrates by an error that knowledge in the broader community about international students is poor. In talking about how international students are largely ignored by the press and the broader community, the main figure in the NLC, one Master Shang, refers to the death in Perth of Jiao Dan on 8 October 2007.

Jiao was attacked and raped with a bottle and left for dead. She died of pneumonia by the side of the road. A man, Daniel Adam Wright, was charged with and convicted of the murder.

But Gilmore gets it wrong. "In the wake of the tragic death of Jiao Dan [a Chinese student murdered two years ago in Sydney], we now know many more are dying or being seriously hurt," said Shang.

The girl who died in Sydney was Wei Liao, not Jiao Dan. Wei fell from the balcony of an apartment block in Waterloo after an intruder sexually assaulted her and others in the unit they were living in. At the time some suspected Wei committed suicide out of shame. She died on 26 October 2008.

There was no coverage in Eastern state media of the Jiao death, however people using the Internet could access stories published on Western Australian Web sites.

Gilmore is the Herald's education reporter and should not have confused the two stories, as both girls were international students. It's a shame.

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