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Four Americans Reportedly Stabbed in China: What We Know So Far

Four American teachers were stabbed in broad daylight by an unknown assailant in China on Monday, according to their employer, U.S. government officials, as well as media reports and social media posts.

The educators—who are affiliated with Iowa’s Cornell College, a small liberal arts college about two hours east of Des Moines, and were in China as part of a partnership with Beihua University in Jilin, a northeastern province—were “injured in a serious incident” while they were visiting a public park accompanied by a Beihua faculty member, school president Jonathan Bard announced in an email to the Cornell community. “We have been in contact with all four instructors and are assisting them during this time,” Bard said, adding that no students were taking part in the program.

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The U.S. State Department said in a statement to the Associated Press that it is aware of and monitoring the situation.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds posted on X that she is in touch with Iowa’s federal delegation and the State Department and said: “Please pray for [the victims’] full recovery, safe return, and their families here at home.”

U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson, whose district includes Cornell College, posted on X that she was “horrified” the school’s faculty members were “brutally stabbed” and that her team is working to bring the injured Iowans home safely. Hinson’s colleague Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, also a Republican from Iowa, posted that her office is in touch with one of the impacted families and is requesting to speak with the U.S. Embassy “to ensure that the victims first receive quality care for their injuries and then get out of #China in a medically feasible manner.” Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, offered a similar message to Reynolds’.

Iowa State Rep. Adam Zabner told Reuters and CBS News that his brother David was among the victims and that the group was on its way to visit a temple when they were attacked by a man with a knife. David, the state representative said, was “wounded in the arm” but is recovering in hospital and “doing well.” Other victims have not yet been publicly identified.

Videos purportedly of the aftermath of the stabbing have circulated on X, showing at least three people on the ground bleeding, surrounded by onlookers. Chinese authorities have not yet publicly commented on the incident, nor has Chinese state media reported on it, and Chinese social media posts on the topic appear to be censored.

In a since-removed post on Weibo, Hu Xijin, former editor-in-chief of the state-run Global Times, said on Tuesday morning that he expected police to issue a statement soon and that he hoped that it was “an accidental incident” in which the foreign victims were “random targets.” The attacker’s motive was unclear.

On X—which is blocked to the Chinese public but used by many government officials, Chinese companies, and state media—Hu posted that he condemned the attack and insisted that it is “an isolated case” as, in his view, the Chinese public’s general sentiment toward foreigners “is friendly.”

Washington and Beijing have emphasized in recent months how increasing people-to-people exchanges, which have significantly declined since the pandemic, can help to improve the U.S.-China relationship that’s been strained by geopolitical tensions.