The 21st Show

A Memorial Garden For Yingying Zhang; New Novel ‘The Wildlands’; Sexual Abuse In The Catholic Church

The memorial site for missing Chinese scholar Yingying Zhang

Christine Herman/Illinois Public Media

On The 21st: It's been more than a year since visiting Chinese scholar Yingying Zhang disappeared. Today, we'll hear from two of her friends about how they are remembering her. And, Chicago novelist Abby Geni joins us to talk about her second novel “The Wildlands.” But first, we talk about the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church. 

It’s been more than a year since University of Illinois visiting scholar Yingying Zhang went missing. She hasn’t been seen since last June, although law enforcement officials have arrested and charged a man in her kidnapping and death.

The place she was last seen is actually right in front of our studios on the University of Illinois campus. Since she went missing, Yingying’s friends have been placing flowers and stuffed animals next to a tree at the bus stop.

The University is now working on creating a permanent memorial garden at that site.

To talk more about the memorial, we were joined in our Urbana by two people who are among the many volunteers who will be working on that garden — Yan Li and Yulin Li. 


Chicago writer Abby Geni has been writing novels since she was a little kid. She’s also always been in love with the outdoors.

So perhaps it’s fitting that her second novel is called The Wildlands. It comes out Tuesday, September 4, and it’s a story about not just nature, but about survival, family, and making it on your own.

Niala spoke with Abby from our studios at Northwestern University in Evanston.


Earlier this month a Pennsylvania grand jury found that about 300 priests in six of the state's dioceses had allegedly abused young people in their care. The fallout has reached the very top of the church, with Pope Francis asking for forgiveness for abuses during his trip to Ireland, all while an ex-Vatican official has accused the Pope of ignoring misconduct for years.

The stories are affecting Catholics and non-Catholics around the world and here in Illinois — including some very high ranking officials. One of them is Cardinal Blase Cupich, who was also named in the letter. Attorney Lisa Madigan is also looking for answers, announcing plans to meet with Chicago’s Archdiocese and other Catholic Dioceses across the state. She’s also created a hotline for victims of clergy sex abuse so that they may come forward. We’ll tweet that number out and have it up on our website.

To talk more about this, we were joined by Illinois Public Radio Statehouse reporter Brian Mackey.

Story source: WILL