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Four US college instructors injured in ‘brutal’ China stabbing attack

Hong Kong

Four American university professors teaching in China were stabbed while visiting a busy public park, in a rare case of violent crime against foreigners in the powerful security state.

Educators at Cornell College, a private liberal arts college in Mount Vernon, Iowa, were injured “in a serious incident” Monday while participating in a partnership program with Beihua University from the northeastern Chinese city of Jilin, according to the college.

“We have been in contact with and are assisting all four instructors during this time,” Cornell College President Jonathan Brand said in a statement, adding that no students participated in the program.

Footage purportedly showing the aftermath of the attack in broad daylight, which was shared on Chinese social media on Monday but was quickly censored, showed two men and a woman lying on the ground covered in large stains of blood, surrounded by onlookers .

They appeared conscious and were talking on their cellphones, the video shows.

Details of the attack, including the motive and identity of the attacker(s), remained unclear Tuesday and Chinese authorities have yet to respond to the incident.

CNN geolocated video of the attack to Beishan Park, a popular green space in downtown Jilin, less than a half-hour drive from Beihua University. Monday was a public holiday in China.

Iowa State Rep. Adam Zabner told CNN that his brother, David Zabner, was one of the victims of the stabbing.

Rep. Zabner said his brother, who was on his second visit to China with Cornell, “is doing well” and was “stitched up and appears to be recovering,” after speaking with him Tuesday morning Beijing time.

The other three victims survived the attack, Rep. Zabner said, adding that he could not comment on their condition.

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Victims of a stabbing attack are seen lying on the ground in Beishan Park, Jilin, China, Monday June 10, 2024.

“I am extremely grateful that my brother is okay and that he survived this attack,” he told CNN.

“My family’s hope is to bring my brother home as soon as possible and get him back to good health. And we just want to thank the U.S. Department of State for all of their help, as well as our federal delegation in Iowa which has been particularly helpful.

The US State Department said it was aware of reports of a stabbing incident in China and was monitoring the situation.

Knife attacks are not uncommon in China, where guns are tightly controlled. The country has faced a series of stabbing attacks in public places, including schools and hospitals. But public attacks on foreigners are rare.

The Jilin attack on Monday comes as China seeks to roll back international visitors after three years of strict Covid-19 border controls. It also comes amid efforts to boost educational exchanges with the United States, as the two countries seek to stabilize strained relations.

The incident drew attention and concern from Iowa officials and lawmakers. The state’s governor, Kim Reynolds, called it a “horrific attack.” Ashley Hinson, Iowa Representativewho represents the district where Cornell College is located, said college employees “were brutally stabbed” and pledged to “do everything in our power to bring these Iowans home safely.”

Cornell College began a partnership with Beihua University in 2018, which would see the Chinese institution fund educators from the Iowa school to travel and live in China and teach part of a course in the fields of computer science, mathematics and physics over two years. weekday periods, according to information posted on the college’s website at the time.

Courtesy of Cornell College

The campus of Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa

China is trying to strengthen its educational cooperation with the United States, which has suffered considerable setbacks due to the Covid pandemic and bilateral tensions.

During a visit to the United States in November, Chinese leader Xi Jinping announced that his country would invite 50,000 young Americans to China on exchange and study programs over the next five years to foster personal ties between the two countries.

The Chinese leader highlighted his own enduring ties to the state of Iowa in his announcement. Xi stayed with a host family in Iowa during his first visit to the United States nearly four decades ago, an experience he called “unforgettable.”

Last week, Xi encouraged Chinese and American universities to “strengthen exchanges and cooperation,” in a letter to the president of New Jersey’s Kean University, which has a China-based joint venture with Wenzhou University , according to state media.

China has one of the lowest violent crime rates in the world, thanks in part to its strict gun controls and powerful mass surveillance.

But he continues to face massive knife attacks in public places. In May, two people were killed and 21 others injured in a stabbing attack at a hospital in the southwestern province of Yunnan.

Last year, six people were killed and another injured in an early morning stabbing incident outside a kindergarten in the southern province of Guangdong. And a stabbing in 2022, also in a kindergarten, left three people dead and six injured in the eastern province of Jiangxi.

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