Chinese student's life changed by protest

DURHAM, N.C. — When Grace Wang stepped into the middle of a recent rally at Duke University between pro-Tibet and pro-China factions, she was trying to play devil's advocate. But she ended up being branded something of a devil herself — a sellout to her native China.

The next day, photos of her at the rally popped up on, the largest bulletin board service for Chinese students in North America. The Chinese characters for "Traitor to China" were emblazoned across her forehead. Personal information from Wang's national identity card and directions to her parents' apartment were posted online. A torrent of threatening e-mail messages and phone calls ensued. Big red letters reading "Kill the whole family" were painted in the hallway of their apartment building. Wang's parents have temporarily moved away.

Before all this, Wang, 20, was a college freshman with typical freshman objectives — keeping up with her ambitious course load, dating and coping with dining hall food. But life has grown more complicated since she became the center of an international maelstrom. Now, Duke University has stepped up security patrols around her dormitory and Wang has secured a pro bono attorney who is pushing for the punishment of those who anonymously posted vicious messages to incite attacks against her.

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