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Four US college instructors stabbed in a public park in China

Chinese police have arrested a 55-year-old man after four American university lecturers were stabbed in a public park.

A statement from the college said Iowa Cornell College instructors were taken to hospital after a “serious incident” during a daytime attack in northern Jilin province.

Iowa Rep. Adam Zabner said his brother David was one of four instructors injured in what he described as a stabbing.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that none of the injured were in danger.

Police said the attacker, surnamed Cui, clashed with one of the Americans and then stabbed him. He then injured three other U.S. visitors and a Chinese tourist who tried to help them.

Zabner said a group of instructors were visiting a local temple on Monday when they were attacked by a man armed with a knife.

He said his brother was stabbed in the arm in Beishan Park in Jilin city and was recovering in hospital.

“My family is incredibly grateful that David survived this attack,” he told the BBC.

“We would like to see David back home in Iowa as soon as possible,” he added. “We are deeply grateful to the Department of State and Iowa’s federal delegation and understand that they are working hard to make this happen.”

Cornell College said the four instructors were teaching “in partnership with a university in China.” During Monday’s visit to the park, the group was accompanied by a member of Beihua University.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lin Jian said police believed the attack was an “isolated incident” and China was “one of the safest countries in the world.”

“We believe that this will not harm relations with other countries,” he added.

National security adviser Jake Sullivan said on X/Twitter that the United States was “deeply concerned” about the stabbing.

“Our team has reached out to these Americans and our PRC counterparts to ensure that the victims’ needs are met and law enforcement takes appropriate action,” he said. “We wish them a speedy recovery.”

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said she had been in contact with the department about the “horrific” attack.

“Please pray for their full recovery, safe return and their families here at home,” she wrote on X/Twitter.

Photos of the incident circulating online appear to show at least three people bleeding and lying on the ground.

However, it appears that the photos were quickly censored on the Chinese Internet.

On Tuesday, searches for terms such as “Jilin foreigners” yielded no results, even though the search term is trending on Weibo.

Instead, Internet users resorted to discussions within adjacent topics, with some asking for more information about the incident.

Online commentator Hu Xijin, formerly the editor-in-chief of China’s Global Times, previously posted on Weibo that China is receiving an increasing number of foreign visitors and the Chinese are “usually friendly” towards them. He described the entire incident as an “accidental event.”

The post has already been deleted.

There are also few reports of the incident in Chinese state media.

Zabner said his brother, a Tufts University graduate student, has already visited China and was making his second trip to the country with Cornell College.

According to a 2018 Cornell press release, the American school partnered with Beihua University that year to provide Cornell professors with money to live in China and teach part of their course for a two-week period.

Cornell said at the time that the partnership focused on computer science, mathematics and physics.

Beihua University enrolls 24,000 students in the northeastern Chinese city of 4.4 million.

Amid strained diplomatic relations, Beijing and Washington have recently tried to re-establish people-to-people exchanges.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has unveiled a plan to invite 50,000 young Americans to China over the next five years, while Chinese diplomats say the US State Department’s travel advisory has discouraged Americans from going to China.