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Sunday, June 23, 2024  
17 Dhul-Hijjah 1445  

Four American educators stabbed in park in northeast China

The group had been visiting a temple in Beishan Park when they were attacked
Photo via Reuters
Photo via Reuters

Four American educators from a small Iowa university were injured in a stabbing attack in a public park in northeast China’s Jilin province on Monday, according to Chinese and U.S. government officials.

China’s foreign ministry on Tuesday said the incident was a random attack and that it would “not affect normal people-to-people exchanges between China and the United States”.

Iowa Representative Adam Zabner told Reuters his brother was one of the victims from Cornell College in Iowa.

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

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

The group had been visiting a temple in Beishan Park when they were attacked by a man with a knife, he added.

“The police have preliminarily judged that this was a random incident but an investigation is ongoing,” China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Lin Jian told reporters at a daily briefing on Tuesday.

“All the injured individuals were immediately taken to the hospital and were given appropriate critical care, no one’s life is in danger,” Lin said.

China’s foreign ministry said it would continue taking effective measures to ensure the safety of foreigners in China.

A video of people lying on the ground in a park covered in blood was circulating on X on Monday, though no trace of the images could be found on Chinese social media.

Reuters was able to identify the location of the video based on Chinese characters written on a wall, the wall’s structure and the layout of the path, but it was not able to confirm when the video was shot.

A few remaining posts about the incident on the Chinese social media platform Weibo questioned widespread censorship of the incident in official media.

“Do they really think that censoring domestic discussion of the incident impacts whether foreigners choose to visit China or not?” posted one Weibo user.

A US State Department spokesperson said in an emailed statement that they were aware of reports of a “stabbing incident” in Jilin, China, and were monitoring the situation.

The educators from Cornell College were on a teaching exchange programme with a partner university, Beihua, in Jilin City.

“We are working through proper channels and requesting to speak with the U.S. Embassy on appropriate matters to ensure that the victims first receive quality care for their injuries and then get out of China in a medically feasible manner,” Iowa’s Congress representative Mariannette Miller-Meeks wrote on X.

China’s President Xi Jinping this year pledged to invite 50,000 young Americans to China for study programmes to boost people-to-people ties, but a State Department Level 3 travel advisory to China warning of possible arbitrary detention and exit bans remains in place.

There are currently fewer than 900 American exchange students studying in China compared to over 290,000 Chinese students in the United States, according to U.S. data.

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