Asian American Racial Justice Organization Denounces Decision to Increase Policing and Surveillance in Wake of Tragic Death of a Chinese Univ. of Chicago Alumnus

The Chicago Police Department and University Chicago Police Department recently announced plans to increase police patrols, traffic stops, and surveillance cameras in response to a recent off-campus fatal shooting. 

For Immediate Release

November 21, 2021
Grace Pai, Executive Director
Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago

CHICAGO, IL — Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago will be holding a press conference on Monday, November 22nd, 2021 at 10:00am on the University of Chicago campus to denounce increased policing and surveillance in Hyde Park and surrounding communities in the wake of two local incidents of gun violence.

On November 9th, a recent graduate of the University of Chicago, Shaoxiong ‘Dennis’ Zheng, was shot and killed during a robbery in Hyde Park. That same day, there was also an unrelated shooting spree on 53rd Street that did not result in any injuries or deaths. In response to the fatal robbery, various students, primarily Chinese international students, organized a “We want safety” rally on Tuesday, November 16th. Afterwards, the University of Chicago and the Chicago Police Department (CPD) announced a joint plan to increase the presence of CPD and the private University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD) patrols in surrounding areas and to install additional surveillance cameras.

In the aftermath of the death of Shaoxiong ‘Dennis’ Zheng, we have seen an increase in racist, anti-Black sentiment, especially from Asian international students and community members (statement from the Organization of Black Students). While we fully empathize with the fears and concerns following the deaths of three UChicago students or recent graduates in the past year, two of whom were international Chinese students, we also recognize that gun violence is a complex issue that our communities have been reckoning with for decades. Hyde Park is one of the most policed neighborhoods in Chicago. Increasing policing and surveillance will not deter future gun violence because policing and surveillance do not address the root causes of violence, such as decades of disinvestment, structural racism, poverty, trauma, and lack of opportunity. Furthermore, ramping up policing and surveillance will contribute to the harassment, racial profiling, and police brutality that Black students and residents already experience.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago is holding a press conference on Monday to show Asian and Asian American solidarity with the Black community and support for public safety for all communities in response to recent gun violence. Residents of the Hyde Park community, Asian American and international students at the University of Chicago, and allied organizations will be in attendance.

  • WHAT: Press conference
  • WHOHyde Park residents, current University of Chicago students, including members of the international student community, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago
  • Speakers include:

Grace Pai, Hyde Park resident, University of Chicago alumna, and Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago
A speaker will share a written statement on behalf of a Chinese international student who attended the ‘We Want Safety’ rally on 11/16/21
TBD – Violence prevention organization
TBD – Hyde Park resident

  • WHEN: Monday, November 22nd, at 10:00am
  • WHERE: 5801 S Ellis, in front of Edward H. Levi Hall, the administration building at the University of Chicago


Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago builds power through collective advocacy and organizing to achieve racial equity. Learn more at