BEIJING: Four American instructors from a small Iowa university were wounded in a stabbing attack in a public park in northeast China’s Jilin province on Monday, prompting an investigation into the attacker’s motive, Chinese officials said.

The alleged assaults occurred shortly before noon on Monday at a park in Jilin City, police said. A 55-year-old local man, identified only by his surname Cui, was detained the same day.

“Cui collided into a foreigner while walking in Beishan Park, and then stabbed the foreigner and three fellow foreigners with a knife, as well as a Chinese tourist who tried to stop him,” Jilin City police said on social media, adding the victims’ injuries were not life-threatening.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Lin Jian, said on Tuesday that police believed it was a random attack but authorities were still investigating. “All the injured individuals were immediately taken to the hospital and were given appropriate critical care,” Lin said.

The ministry said the incident would “not affect normal people-to-people exchanges between China and the United States” and that it would take measures to ensure the safety of foreigners in China. US officials expressed dismay over the attack, and the State Department said it was in touch with local authorities and monitoring the situation.

“We are deeply concerned by the stabbing of US citizens in Jilin City, China,” White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan wrote on X on Tuesday. “Our team has been in touch these Americans and our PRC counterparts to ensure that the victims needs are met, and appropriate law enforcement steps are being taken,” he said, referring to the initials for the People’s Republic of China. “We wish them a speedy recovery.” Officials have not released the names of the victims. Representative Adam Zabner of the Iowa Legislature said his brother was one of the victims from Cornell College in Mount Vernon, about 15 miles east of Cedar Rapids.

Published in Dawn, June 12th, 2024

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