Hu Xinyu: The body of the Chinese boy who disappeared for 106 days was found


For three months, Hu Xinyu’s disappearance has loomed over China.

The disappearance of the 15-year-old girl from a boarding school in southern Jiangxi province in October has been the most discussed topic on the Chinese internet for months.

It sparked many questions, speculation, and rounds of exhaustive police Searches – including those joined by thousands of residents earlier this month.

Then, on Sunday — more than 100 days after Hu disappeared — local police said Hu’s body was found in the woods near his school.

The discovery was made by a member of the public on Thursday. The body was wearing the clothes Hu wore when he disappeared. That prompted police to summon his family and their lawyer to the scene.

Police in Shangrao city said in a statement that DNA testing later confirmed that the body was that of Hu.

A tape recorder found near the body has been sent for analysis, the statement said.

But the discovery didn’t bring closure, it just raised more questions about the circumstances of his death.

Hu Jintao’s death became a trending topic on China’s Twitter-like Weibo on Monday, with several hashtags racking up hundreds of millions of views.

Many comments questioned why police conducted an extensive search – including sniffer dogs, drones and thermal imaging equipment – but failed to find a body so close to the school.

According to China National Radio, the woodland where Hu was found was only a five-minute walk from the school, separated by a school wall about two meters high.

An autopsy has been carried out, but the results have not yet been released, according to The Paper, the official news website.

Disappearances of children and teenagers are not uncommon in China, but Hu’s disappearance is one of the most high-profile cases in recent years. One million people went missing in China in 2020 — an average of 2,739 per day, according to the Beijing-based nonprofit China Institute for Social Relief.

On Chinese social media, some have questioned why a 15-year-old boy can seem to disappear without a trace in a country known for ubiquitous security cameras and high-tech surveillance.

This screenshot from surveillance video shows Hu Xinyu walking down the hallway of his dormitory.

Hu Gang started studying at Zhiyuan Middle School, a private boarding school in Yanshan County, and was admitted on a scholarship in September before he suddenly disappeared.

He was last seen in security camera footage walking the hallways of his dorm at dusk on Oct. 14, about 15 minutes before evening study sessions began, according to police.

According to state media reports, Hu disappeared somewhere between the dormitory and the teaching building, an area not covered by surveillance cameras.

The school notified Hu of his disappearance about six hours later, Hu’s family said in a missing persons notice. The notice stated that Mr. Hu left the smart watch and cash in the dormitory, and only brought a digital recorder and a school card used to pay for campus meals.

Hu’s parents could not be reached by mobile phone on Monday.

Rumors have swirled online as investigations and raids have come to no avail, underscoring deep-seated public distrust of local authorities.

In response, the police released a detailed statement on Jan. 7, making it clear that they found no evidence that Hu was murdered or involved in an incident at the school. He may have left the campus by himself, police said.

The statement also detailed police searches that included nearly 40 hectares of woodland near the school, 200 kilometers of rivers, 22 kilometers of railway tracks, as well as 72 ponds and three reservoirs.

The search continued after Jan. 7 and involved thousands of people, including local residents who volunteered, state media reported at the time.

On Sunday, the People’s Daily website, the main mouthpiece of the Communist Party, published an opinion piece calling on local authorities to address public concerns, including why they had not found Hu’s body after more than 100 days.

It also called on the public to be patient with the official results.

“The Hu Xinyu incident has attracted national attention. No one dares to make a fake, and no one can fake it,” the article said. “If there is any mistake, the consequences will be disastrous.”

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