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China park stabbing: 4 US college instructors injured in Jilin attack

China park stabbing: 4 US college instructors injured in Jilin attack
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The US State Department is monitoring the situation, after four instructors from an Iowa college were attacked in a park in the northeastern Chinese province of Jilin on Monday.

Cornell College President Jonathan Brand confirmed that the instructors were stabbed in a park in the province’s Jilin city, home to Beihua University, which has a cooperative relationship with the private academy, Associated Press said on Tuesday.

None of the victims was in a life-threatening condition, according to Iowa Public Radio, quoting one of the instructor’s family members in a report on Tuesday, which added that the four were recovering in a local hospital.

A State Department spokesperson said on Tuesday that the department is aware of reports of the incident, is monitoring the situation and has “no further comments at this time”.

The motive for the attack is not clear. Videos and photos circulating on social media showed four injured foreigners lying on the ground, with police and bystanders nearby.

Nearly all the images and discussion of the incident have since been removed in China, where social media platforms are heavily censored.

The park where the stabbing is alleged to have occurred is 1km (just over half a mile) from government offices. An officer at the nearest police station said on Tuesday that he had “no comment” when asked about the incident.

Hu Xijin, the outspoken former chief editor of nationalist newspaper Global Times, said on social media platform X that he “condemned” the attack.

“Regardless of the attacker’s motive, this incident is an isolated case in the broader context of Chinese society,” he said, adding that the public’s “general sentiment toward foreign tourists in marketplaces and tourist spots [in China] is friendly”.

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Four US college instructors stabbed in a park in Jilin, China

Four US college instructors stabbed in a park in Jilin, China

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds said in a post on X that she was in contact with Iowa’s federal delegation and the US State Department “in response to this horrifying attack”.

Also on X, US Representative Mariannette Jane Miller-Meeks from Iowa said “we are working through proper channels and requesting to speak with the US 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”.

According to the Cornell College website, its partnership with Beihua University began in 2018. Under the agreement, Beihua provides funding for Cornell professors to spend two weeks in China teaching courses, including computer science, mathematics and physics.

The incident occurred amid efforts by Beijing and Washington to ease tensions in their technological and ideological competition through cultural exchanges.

In November, Chinese President Xi Jinping said China was ready to invite 50,000 young Americans for exchanges and study in the country over the next five years.

The outreach followed an agreement between Xi and US President Joe Biden to promote expanded educational, student, youth, cultural, sports and business exchanges, reached during their summit in California last year.

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