Chinese police say suspect in custody after four US college teachers stabbed in park

Credit: CNN

Chinese police have detained a suspect after four college teachers from the US were stabbed in a park in Jilin.

Jilin city police said a 55-year-old man was walking in a public park on Monday when he bumped into a foreigner.

He stabbed the person and three others who were with him, as well as a Chinese person who tried to intervene, police said.

The teachers from Iowa's Cornell College were teaching at Beihua University in northeastern China where the attack happened.

Footage shared on social media showed the aftermath of the attack with two men and a woman lying on the floor covered in large blood stains, surrounded by onlookers.

They appeared conscious and were talking on their mobile phones, the video showed.

The injured were rushed to a hospital for treatment but none of them were in a critical condition, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lin Jian said at a daily briefing on Tuesday.

He said police believe the attack in Beishan Park was an isolated incident and the investigation is ongoing.

Footage shared on social media showed victims of the attack lying on the ground surrounded by people

Cornell College President Jonathan Brand said in a statement that the instructors were attacked while at the park with a faculty member from Beihua, which is in an outlying part of the industrial city of Jilin in northeast China.

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

Iowa state representative Adam Zabner told CNN his brother, David Zabner, was one of the victims of the stabbing.

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

The instructors were part of Cornell College. Credit: CNN

Cornell spokesperson Jen Visser said in an email that the college was still gathering information on what happened.

News of the incident was suppressed in China, where the government maintains control on information about anything considered sensitive.

News media outlets had not reported it. Some social media accounts posted foreign media reports about the attack, but a hashtag about it was blocked.

The original social media footage has been scrubbed from the Chinese internet.

The attack happened as both Beijing and Washington are seeking to maintain people-to-people exchanges to help bolster relations amid tensions over trade and international issues such as Taiwan, the South China Sea and the war in Ukraine.

A college news release from Cornell in 2018 says Beihua provides funding for Cornell professors to travel to China to teach a portion of courses in computer science, mathematics and physics over a two-week period.

According to a 2020 post on Beihua's website, the Chinese university uses American teaching methods and resources to give engineering students an international perspective and English-language ability.

About one-third of the core courses in this particular programme use US textbooks and are taught by American professors, according to the post.

Students can apply to study for two years of their four-year education at Cornell College and receive degrees from both institutions.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has unveiled a plan to invite 50,000 young Americans to China in the next five years, though Chinese diplomats say a travel advisory by the US State Department has discouraged Americans from visiting China.

Some American universities have suspended their China programmes due to the travel advisory.

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