Lin Jun laid to rest in 'his favourite city'
Published Thursday, July 26, 2012 7:56AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, July 26, 2012 9:38PM EDT
The parents of Lin Jun, the Chinese exchange student who was brutally killed and dismembered, laid their son to rest Thursday in the city that he came to love.
Lin’s family, friends and perfect strangers said goodbye to the 33-year-old Concordia University student at Montreal’s Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery Thursday morning.
Lin’s father, Diran Lin, sobbed throughout the service as he clutched the urn containing his son’s ashes. Others wept in silence.
“The father was in such tremendous pain, it's inexplicable,” said Deborah Lee, who attended the funeral. “His body was shaking, he was in tremors. I don't know how people overcome something like this, I really don't.”
Father Henry Rodriguez, who presided over the funeral, told attendees not to lose their faith and trust in human beings in the wake of Lin’s gruesome death.
“It's not easy to help this family,” he said. “We can reach the pain of this family until one level, but not the deepest level that they are living.”
Lin’s mother Zhigui Du was too overcome with grief to attend the service, but she did speak to reporters afterward.
Zhigui said she used to describe her son’s alleged murderer as “the devil,” but her feelings have since changed.
“When I arrived in Canada my heart was filled with rage and pain at these events that took my son’s life,” said Zhigui through a translator during a press conference at Concordia University. “Canada is such a beautiful country with its people (who) are warm and good. How could this terrible tragedy be possible in such peaceful society?”
However, Zhigui said after learning more about the suspect’s background and upbringing, “I shockingly discovered my other self who has started to develop sympathy for this person described as 'devil'."
Asked how she overcame the past feelings of anger, Zhigui said the support she has received from the Canadian government has helped.
Zhigui said the family made the decision to bury Lin in Canada because it was the land her son loved and he “can now rest in peace in his favourite city.”
"When he left China and came to Canada to study, he wanted us to say goodbye with our smiles,” she said in a written statement distributed to media. “And today, I think it's time to wipe our tears and see our son go with smiles on our face."
Lin's dismembered torso was found May 29 in a suitcase that had been dumped in the trash outside a Montreal apartment building.
His hands and feet were mailed to the offices of the Conservative and Liberal parties in Ottawa, as well as two schools in Vancouver.
After an international manhunt, Luka Rocco Magnotta, a small-time porn actor, was arrested in Berlin on June 4 and charged with Lin’s murder.
Magnotta has pleaded not guilty to several charges in connection with Lin's death, including first-degree murder.
Lin’s family intends to set up a foundation in their son’s name to help young people suffering with mental illness.
“If they get the appropriate help, I imagine we’ll have a society with more love and harmony,” Lin’s mother said.
Concordia is helping raise funds for Lin’s family to cover the costs associated with the family staying in Canada for the extent of the trial. The university is also setting up an award in Lin’s memory to provide financial assistance to Chinese students.
The university has raised $70,000 so far.
With a report from CTV Montreal’s Tarah Schwartz