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Chinese student at US college party dies

By Linda Deng in Seattle | China Daily USA | Updated: 2016-03-02 11:46

A 17-year-old Green River College student from China has died in Auburn, Washington, of alcohol poisoning, authorities said.

The student, Yang Chen, died Feb 19 at a house he was renting with several other Chinese students, according to police Commander Steve Stocker.

The house was where Chen and 14 other students from China had a birthday party the evening of Feb 19. Police said that students at the party were drinking heavily at the time of Chen's death.

The King County Medical Examiner's Office confirmed the reason for the death was alcohol poisoning.

Police are trying to determine the source of the alcohol. The age to purchase alcohol legally in the United States is 21, with some minor exceptions.

"It is horrible. We are heartbroken and will try our best to assist the family," said Ross Jennings, vice-president of international programs at the college.

Jennings said the college is now reviewing its procedures to avoid a similar tragedy in the future.

Chen's parents arrived in Auburn last week, and Jennings said they need help to set up a memorial and plan their son's funeral in China.

Green River College (GRC) offers classes to prepare students for academic transfer to a four-year college or university. The college also offers a bachelor of applied science degree. The main campus is on Lea Hill in Auburn, with satellite campuses in Enumclaw and Kent, Washington.

The college in the Seattle suburbs is also known for its international program. As of fall 2014, GRC hosted more than 1,700 international students from 64 countries, ranking it among the top 10 community colleges in the US in international enrollment. Representatives of the college visits China each year to recruit students.

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