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4 Cornell College instructors wounded in stabbing attack in China; suspect arrested

Americans stabbed in China, suspect arrested
Suspect arrested after 4 Americans stabbed in China 03:08

Four instructors affiliated with Iowa's Cornell College were injured in a stabbing attack during a visit to a park in China, the college said on Monday. China's Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that none of the foreign nationals were critically injured in what it said appeared to be "an isolated incident."

The instructors were in Jilin City, in northeast China, teaching as part of a partnership program with a local university, Jonathan Brand, the college's president, said in a statement. The instructors had been accompanied by a faculty member of the college's partner institution in China at the time of the attack, Brand added. No students from the small liberal arts college in Mount Vernon, Iowa, were taking part in the program at the time.

Local police said Tuesday that a 55-year-old suspect had been arrested. Officials said the man had stabbed all four Americans after one of them bumped into him. Police said the suspect also stabbed a Chinese person who approached to intervene. 

State Rep. Adam Zabner said that his brother, David Zabner, who was on his second trip to China with Cornell, was one of the victims. According to Rep. Zabner, the group was visiting a local temple when they were attacked by a man with a knife. David Zabner, a doctoral student at Tufts who previously taught at Cornell, was stabbed in the arm and is recovering at a hospital, his brother said.

People gather around American educators from an Iowa university who were wounded in an incident in a public park in Jilin City, Jilin province, China, on June 10, 2024, in a still image taken from a video obtained by Reuters. CBS News has obscured the identity of one of the wounded individuals. Obtained by Reuters

Speaking to reporters Tuesday during a regular press briefing, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Lin Jian said the incident was still being investigated, but that police had determined preliminarily that it appeared to be a random, isolated attack. The ministry did not expect it to impact the "normal exchanges" of people between China and the U.S., Lin said. 

"Four foreign teachers from Beihua University, Jilin City, were attacked when touring the city's Beishan Park," Lin told journalists on Tuesday. "All the injured were rushed to hospital and received proper medical treatment. None of them is in a critical condition. Police believed it to be an isolated incident based on preliminary assessment. Further investigation is still underway."

"Cultural and people-to-people exchange between China and the U.S. serves common interests of both sides and has been positively supported by various sectors of the two countries," she said, adding: "China is widely considered one of the safest countries in the world. China has taken effective measures and will continue to take relevant measures to protect the safety of foreign nationals in China. We believe that the isolated incident will not disrupt normal cultural and people-to-people exchange between the two countries." 

Iowa's Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks said her office was in touch with the U.S. Embassy in China to ensure the victims of the attack receive quality care and are safely brought home.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said she was in touch with the state's federal delegation as well as the State Department. "Please pray for their full recovery, safe return, and their families here at home," Reynolds wrote on social media.

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