Three Chinese students in California were arrested for initiating a Lord of the Flies-style attack on classmates. The foreign exchange students were convicted of making classmates strip, beating them, holding them captive, making the eat their own hair, and burning them with cigarettes.
The three Chinese students and the victims were all “parachute kids” who were sent to California for schooling while their parents remained in their native land. Yunyao “Helen” Zhai will spend 13 years in prison for her crimes, Yuhan “Coco” Yang was sentenced to spend 10 years behind bars, and Xinlei “John” Zhang had a 6-year prison term levied against him.
All three of the Chinese parachute kids confessed to the kidnapping and assault charges and apologized for their actions during the court proceedings. The three also faced a torture charge that could have carried a life sentence, but the charge was ultimately dropped before the guilty plea was entered.
Chinese students jailed for ‘Lord of the Flies’ attacks on California classmates: All three of the Chinese nat… https://t.co/u6O9vmsOeM
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Both Yunyao Zhai and Xinlei Zhang were accused of attacking a 16-year-old girl at a Rowland Heights restaurant in Los Angeles last March. The parachute kids admitted to punching and slapping the girl. The classmate was attacked because she allegedly disrespected the other girls, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Several days later, Zhai, Zhang, and Yuhan Yang kidnapped another female classmate and drove her to a local park. Once at the park, the girl was stripped naked, spit upon, punched, beaten, burned with cigarettes, and forced to eat her hair over the course of five hours. She was subjected to the brutal attack due to a fuss over a boy and an unpaid bill at a restaurant.
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There are currently thousands of Chinese students living with host families in the United States while attending school. The host families are provided with a stipend to cover the room and board for the students. One of the areas with the highest population of parachute kids is in downtown Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley suburbs, the Daily Mail reports.
The crimes committed by the three Chinese students was dubbed a Lord of the Flies case by the trial judge. The 1954 cult classic movie was based upon the novel by William Golding. In the book and the movie with followed, a group of schoolboys from Great Britain were stranded on an island and two distinct group quickly emerged and began jockeying for control of their environment in a decidedly harsh fashion.
Zhai wrote a statement about the crime, which was shared by her attorney.
“I hope they do not carry the wounds from what I did for the rest of their lives. They [her parents] sent me to the U.S. for a better life and a fuller education. Along with that came a lot of freedom, in fact too much freedom. Here, I became lonely and lost. I didn’t tell my parents because I didn’t want them to worry about me.”
Yang said that the criminal case should serve as a wake-up call for others with “parachute kid syndrome.”
“Parents in China are well-meaning and send their kids thousands of miles away with no supervision and too much freedom,” she said. “That is a formula for disaster.”
Zhang’s father, who was a laborer in China before becoming a businessman, said he regretted sending his son to school in the United States. He added that if his son had never left his side, things would have turned out better.
Two other minors from China, one a boy and one a girl, have already been sent to a juvenile rehabilitation camp as punishment for their roles in the Lord of the Flies attacks. Another Chinese national, Zheng Lu, 20, is facing torture, assault, and kidnapping charges related to the same case.
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