4 American college instructors stabbed in China

Authorities in China have taken a man into custody on suspicion of stabbing four American college instructors and one other person in a public park on Monday, according to multiple reports.

Police responded to the attack at Beishan Park in Jilin, a city in northeast China, around 11:50 a.m. local time Monday, according to CNN. It left wounded four instructors from Cornell College, a private liberal arts college in Mount Vernon, Iowa, and a Chinese person who tried to intervene in the attack.

“At present, the injured have all received proper medical treatment and are not in danger of life,” officials said in a statement obtained by CNN.

City police said a 55-year-old man identified only by his last name, Cui, bumped into one of the instructors at the park before he stabbed the instructor, three other foreigners who were with him and the Chinese person, according to The Associated Press. Lin Jian, a spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry, said Tuesday that he attack appeared to be “a random incident but an investigation is ongoing,” Reuters reported.

In a message sent to students and staff members after Monday’s attack, Cornell College President Jonathan Brand said four Cornell instructors were injured “in a serious incident during a daytime visit to a public park while accompanied by a faculty member of the partner institution,” according to KCRG-TV.

“We have been in contact with all four instructors and are assisting them during this time,” he said. “There were no students taking part in this program.”

The injured instructors were visiting China as part of a teaching partnership between Cornell College and Beihua University, KCRG reported.

The partnership between the two schools launched in 2018, according to Cornell College. It sees the university in northeast China funding travel and living expenses for Cornell professors to teach computer science, mathematics or physics classes for two weeks at the university.

In a statement shared on social media, Iowa Rep. Adam Zabner identified one of those injured as his brother, David Zabner. He said David Zabner was stabbed in the arm while visiting a temple in Jilin.

“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,” Rep. Zabner said.

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

The State Department said in a statement obtained by the AP that it was aware of the attack and monitoring the situation.

The stabbing comes after Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged earlier this year to invite 50,000 young Americans to study in China to boost people-to-people exchanges, Reuters reported. The news agency noted that less than 900 American exchange students are studying in China compared to more than 290,000 Chinese students in the U.S.

It remained unclear Tuesday what prompted the attack.

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