Four American university professors stabbed in attack in Chinese public park


Four Iowa college professors were stabbed by an assailant in an attack in a public park in China on Monday, according to Chinese and U.S. government officials.

A suspect is now in custody, Chinese officials said. According to the police, a Chinese man who tried to intervene was also stabbed.

Educators at Iowa's Cornell College were attacked during a daytime visit to the park in northeast China's Jilin province and were taken to hospital, officials told Reuters. Monday was a holiday in China.

China's Foreign Ministry says none of the injured are in life-threatening conditions and said the incident was a “random attack” that “would not affect normal people-to-people exchanges between China and the United States.”

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People gather around four American educators from an Iowa university, who were allegedly stabbed in a public park, according to American media and American government officials, in Jilin city, Jilin province, China. (Reuters)

The group was visiting a temple in Beishan Park when they were attacked by a man with a knife, he added. The educators were on a teaching exchange program with a partner university, Beihua, in the city of Jilin, and the incident took place while they were in the park with a professor from Beihua.

Adam Zabner, a member of the Iowa House of Representatives, told Reuters that his brother was one of the victims at Cornell College in Iowa.

“My brother, David Zabner, was injured in the arm during a stabbing attack while visiting a temple in the city of Jilin, China,” he said.

“I spoke to David…He is recovering from his injuries and is doing well. My family is incredibly grateful that David survived this attack.”

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Jilin Province on a map

The stabbing attack took place in Jilin province in northeast China. (Google Maps)

A State Department spokesperson told Reuters they were aware of reports of a “stabbing incident” in Jilin, China, and were monitoring the situation.

Images circulating on social media and supposedly coming from the scene show two men and a woman on the ground, with one of the men's clothes covered in blood. However, the incident appears to have been censored on the Internet in China.

The media had not reported it. Some social media accounts published foreign media reports about the attack, but a hashtag about it was blocked on a popular portal and photos and videos of the incident were quickly deleted, according to the Associated Press.

“We are working through the appropriate channels and requesting to speak with the US Embassy on appropriate matters to ensure that the victims first receive quality care for their injuries and then leave China in a medically viable manner,” the representative said. Iowa Mariannette Miller-Meeks. she wrote in X.

Xi Jinping

Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged this year to invite 50,000 young Americans to China to participate in study programs that boost people-to-people ties. (Szilard Koszticsak/MTI via AP)

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Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lin Jian said the incident was isolated and an investigation was underway.

“China is widely considered one of the safest countries in the world and China will continue to take relevant measures to ensure that foreigners are safe in the country,” Jian said, according to the BBC. “We believe this will not harm relations with other countries.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged this year to invite 50,000 young Americans to China for study programs that boost people-to-people ties, but a State Department Level 3 travel warning to China remains in effect, warning against possible arbitrary arrests and exit bans.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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