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Four U.S. college instructors stabbed in China park, suspect arrested

Click to play video: 'China stabbing: 4 U.S. educators injured, 2 in critical condition after ‘random attack,’ Chinese officials say'
China stabbing: 4 U.S. educators injured, 2 in critical condition after ‘random attack,’ Chinese officials say
U.S. lawmakers are working to bring four Americans home from China after they were injured in a stabbing attack that Chinese officials are calling a “random attack.” – Jun 11, 2024

A 55-year-old man was arrested after four U.S. college instructors were stabbed in a public park in China while they were participating in an academic exchange.

Police in Jilin City say they detained a local man with the surname Cui after he allegedly pulled a knife on the instructors while they were walking in Beishan Park on Monday morning. The man “collided with a foreigner, then stabbed the foreigner with a knife and three other foreigners who were with him,” police said, according to the South China Morning Post.

A Chinese tourist stepped in to intervene during the attack and was also stabbed, police added.

All of the victims were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and received treatment. The investigation into the incident is still ongoing and police did not comment on a potential motive behind the attack.

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Video of the aftermath of the attack was spread on Chinese social media, showing two men and a woman lying on the ground, holding their wounds and covered in blood. The injured people appear to be awake and speaking on cell phones in the video.

The four U.S. college instructors who were stabbed had been teaching at Beihua University in Jilin City as part of an exchange program with Iowa’s Cornell College.

Cornell College president Jonathan Brand said in a statement that the instructors were attacked “in a serious incident” on Monday while at a park with a Beihua faculty member. Monday was the Dragon Boat Festival, a public holiday in China.

“We have been in contact with all four instructors and are assisting them during this time,” Brand added, noting that no students were participating in the program.

The exchange between Cornell College and Beihua University began in 2018, and provides an opportunity for Cornell College educators to travel and live in China while teaching a two-week course in computer science, mathematics and physics, according to an article on the Cornell College website.

One of the instructors who was stabbed is the brother of an Iowa state lawmaker, according to a social media post from Rep. Adam Zabner. Adam wrote that his brother, David Zabner, is a doctoral student at Tufts University and was in China participating in the Beihua-Cornell exchange program.

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“I spoke to David a few minutes ago, he is recovering from his injuries and doing well. He reiterated his gratitude to Beihua University for their warm welcome and the care he received at the local hospital,” Adam wrote.

“My family is incredibly grateful that David survived this attack. We’d like to see David home in Iowa as soon as possible.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lin Jian said on Tuesday that the stabbing attack was an “isolated incident” and downplayed concerns that it would negatively impact U.S-China relations.

“We believe that the isolated incident will not disrupt normal cultural and people-to-people exchanges between the two countries,” Lin said. “China is widely recognized as one of the safest countries in the world. China has always taken effective measures and will continue to take relevant measures to effectively protect the safety of all foreigners in China.”

The U.S. State Department said that it is aware of the stabbing reports and is monitoring the situation. The attack happened as both Beijing and Washington are seeking to expand academic exchanges to help bolster relations amid tensions over trade and international conflicts.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has unveiled a plan to invite 50,000 young Americans to China in the next five years, though Chinese diplomats say a travel advisory by the U.S. State Department has discouraged Americans from visiting China.

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Citing arbitrary detentions as well as exit bans that could prevent Americans from leaving the country, the U.S. State Department has issued a Level 3 travel advisory — the second-highest warning level — for mainland China. It urges Americans to “reconsider travel” to China.

Some American universities have suspended their China programs due to the travel advisory.

China has very low rates of violent crime but knife attacks are not uncommon given the country’s restrictions on gun access, CNN reports.

— With files from The Associated Press

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