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China: 4 US College Instructors Stabbed in Public Park

On June 10, 2024, four American educators from Cornell College in Iowa were violently attacked in a public park in Jilin City, China. The incident took place while the group was on a cultural visit as part of a collaboration with Beihua University.

China: 4 US College Instructors Stabbed in Public Park

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The stabbing occurred in a public park in Jilin city, Jilin province, which is located in northeastern China. The incident happened during the day while the instructors were on a visit to a local temple.

The four victims are faculty members from Cornell College in Iowa. They were in China as part of an educational exchange program with Beihua University in Jilin. The victims are recovering in a local hospital and are not in life-threatening conditions.

The attack was carried out by an unknown assailant wielding a knife. The motive for the attack remains unclear and the incident is under investigation by local police.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry has described the incident as an isolated case and addressed that it should not affect China-US cultural exchanges.

The US State Department has confirmed that it is monitoring the situation closely with no further comments provided at this time.

Cornell College President Jonathan Brand confirmed the incident and stated that no students were involved.

Beihua University, which has a cooperative relationship with Cornell College has not yet made a public statement but is assisting with the investigation.

One of the victims, David Zabner, a doctoral student at Tufts University, is the brother of Iowa State Representative Adam Zabner, who has expressed concern and is closely monitoring his brother’s condition.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and US Representative Mariannette Miller-Meeks have both stated that they are in contact with the US State Department and are working to ensure the safe return of the victims.

The incident comes at a time when efforts are being made to ease tensions between China and the US through cultural and educational exchanges.

Chinese President Xi Jinping announced a plan to invite 50,000 young Americans to China over the next five years.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry has reiterated that China remains one of the safest countries for foreigners and that this incident should not deter future visitors.

There is a general consensus among local authorities and commentators that the public sentiment towards foreigners in China is typically friendly.

Reports and images related to the incident have been censored on Chinese social media platforms making it difficult to obtain detailed information.

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The victims were four faculty members from Cornell College, a private liberal arts institution in Mount Vernon, Iowa. They were in China as part of an educational exchange program with Beihua University.

The assailant, who remains unidentified, attacked the group with a knife. The motive behind the attack is currently unknown and it is unclear whether it was targeted or random.

The extent of the injuries varied, but it was confirmed that none of the injuries were life-threatening. Iowa state representative Adam Zabner reported that his brother, David Zabner, one of the victims suffered a wound to his arm and was in stable condition after receiving medical care.

The victims were taken to a local hospital for treatment. There was no immediate comment from Chinese authorities on the motive or identity of the attacker.

The US State Department acknowledged the incident and is monitoring the situation. They have not yet issued a detailed statement but are in touch with Chinese authorities to ensure the safety and well-being of the victims.

Various Iowa officials including Governor Kim Reynolds and Representatives Ashley Hinson and Mariannette Jane Miller-Meeks expressed their horror and concern over the attack.

China’s Foreign Ministry confirmed the incident, describing it as an isolated case. They assured that the victims were receiving appropriate medical care and that an investigation was ongoing.

Footage of the aftermath showing the victims lying on the ground with visible injuries, circulated briefly on social media platforms like X. These videos were swiftly censored on Chinese platforms.

Some Chinese users questioned why domestic media had not reported on the attack, while others worried about its impact on China’s international image, especially during rising nationalism and anti-American sentiment.

The attack comes at a time when China and the US are working to strengthen educational and cultural exchanges.

Chinese President Xi Jinping announced plans to invite 50,000 young Americans to China over the next five years.

The US State Department currently has a Level 3 travel advisory for China, advising Americans to reconsider travel due to risks of arbitrary detentions and exit bans.

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