Chinese mourn passing of US officer

Updated: 2015-04-24 06:13

By LIA ZHU in San Francisco(China Daily USA)

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Chinese mourn passing of US officer

Edward Tracey, 45, a police captain with San Leandro Police Department, received numerous wishes from Chinese supporters before he died on April 14. PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY

A Chinese-American police captain, who recently died after a six-year-battle with cancer, was remembered by Chinese supporters, including policemen, journalists and Chinese in other countries.

Edward Tracey, 45, immigrated to the United States from Hong Kong at a young age and began his law enforcement career in 1987. He had served the San Leandro Police Department and its community in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2012.

Tracey was remembered by his Chinese supporters as the hero of a heart-warming story between US and Chinese police departments.

Late last month, when word came through Weibo that a young Chinese policewoman, Zhao Xiaoli, was battling cancer, Tracey printed a get-well sign and organized photos of fellow officers holding the sign, which were later posted on the social networking site.

The agency also solicited similar photos from other US police officers via their Facebook and Twitter pages. As a result, dozens of get-well photos from police officers across the US reached Zhao before she passed away on April 1.

Only one week later, the Chinese Weibo users got news that Tracey himself had cancer. More than 100 get-well photos poured in, from the family of Zhao, police officers across China, journalists at a local TV station in Sichuan province, and from popular Chinese TV host Cui Yongyuan.

Tracey succumbed to cancer on April 14 with his family at his side.

The Weibo post of his obituary was forwarded more than 300 times and viewed more than 1 million times.

"We had just known this sunny officer last month when we solicited wishes for Xiaoli," said the No. 1 Traffic Police Brigade in Ya'an City, Sichuan province, where Zhao had worked. "We had never expected another farewell in such a short time.

"What we need to do is to pass along their spirit," said the agency. "My two fellow officers, please keep your smiles on your way to heaven."

Zhao Yang, the younger sister of Xiaoli, said she was saddened upon hearing the news that Tracey was terminally ill.

"We just can't accept it, because we just received his photo holding the good-will sign not long ago," she told China Daily.

"I was told that he was concerned with my sister's condition even when he was in the sick bed himself," the sister said. "He didn't know my sister had passed away at the time.

"We are all moved by his warm-heartedness and admire him," she said. "We learned that Captain Tracey was an excellent officer, and we hope his daughter can stay strong and feel proud of her father."

To help Tracey's 10-year-old daughter, Chelsea Tracey, remember her father, a book of her father's stories and photos, contributed by his colleagues and friends, will be made, according to Lt. Robert McManus, press information officer of the San Leandro Police Department.

"I'm sure the photos (from Chinese supporters) will be included," said McManus.

A memorial fund has been set up in Tracey's name to help realize his dream that his daughter receive a college education. More than $10,000 has been donated in less than a week. Chinese supporters have been trying to find a way to contribute, because they can't access the US website directly.

Chelsea did a drawing of her father with the caption My Daddy, My Hero on Thursday morning, when a private viewing for the late officer was scheduled for the afternoon.

"The family of Captain Edward Tracey is feeling overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support from friends, family and the community," Martin Tracey, the late officer's brother and spokesman for the family, said in a statement obtained by China Daily.

"Ed loved his profession as a law enforcement officer, as he loved to serve and protect," Martin Tracey said. "He lived his life with courage and conviction and stood for what he believed in. While he is no longer with us, we are proud of the legacy he has left behind."