• The educators from Cornell College were on a teaching exchange program
  • One of the victims is the brother of a prominent Iowa Democrat  

Four visiting college instructors from Iowa were brutally stabbed in an attack in China on Tuesday morning. 

The educators from Cornell College were on a teaching exchange programme with a partner university, Beihua, in Jilin City.

Iowa Representative Adam Zabner told Reuters his brother was one of the victims from Cornell College in Iowa.

‘My brother, David Zabner, was wounded in the arm during a stabbing attack while visiting a temple in Jilin City, China,’ he said. 

‘I spoke to David…he is recovering from his injuries and doing well. My family is incredibly grateful that David survived this attack.’

The group had been visiting a temple in Beishan Park when they were attacked by a man with a knife, he added. There were no reports of a motive.

Four visiting instructors from Cornell College were brutally stabbed in an attack in China on Tuesday morning. The teachers had been on a teaching exchange programme with a partner university, Beihua, in Jilin City

Four visiting instructors from Cornell College were brutally stabbed in an attack in China on Tuesday morning. The teachers had been on a teaching exchange programme with a partner university, Beihua, in Jilin City

Victim Adam Zabner pictured on his Facebook page

Victim Adam Zabner pictured on his Facebook page 

A video of people lying on the ground in a park covered in blood was circulating on X on Monday, though no trace of the images could be found on Chinese social media.  

Reuters was able to identify the location of the video based on Chinese characters written on a wall, the wall’s structure and the layout of the path, but it was not able to confirm when the video was shot.

A US State Department spokesperson said in an emailed statement that they were aware of reports of a ‘stabbing incident’ in Jilin, China, and were monitoring the situation.

No statements on the incident have been issued by Chinese authorities or reports found in Chinese media. A few remaining posts on the Chinese social media platform Weibo questioned widespread censorship of the incident in official media.

‘Do they really think that censoring domestic discussion of the incident impacts whether foreigners choose to visit China or not?’ posted one Weibo user.

The educators from Cornell College were on a teaching exchange programme with a partner university, Beihua, in Jilin City.

Xi Jinping, then-Vice President of the People's Republic of China sits, with Sarah and Roger Lande (R) February 15, 2012 in Muscatine, Iowa. In 1985, Lande helped coordinate a visit to Muscatine for a delegation headed by Xi, then an up-and-coming official in a hog-farming region of Hebei province, which was Iowa's 'sister state'

Xi Jinping, then-Vice President of the People’s Republic of China sits, with Sarah and Roger Lande (R) February 15, 2012 in Muscatine, Iowa. In 1985, Lande helped coordinate a visit to Muscatine for a delegation headed by Xi, then an up-and-coming official in a hog-farming region of Hebei province, which was Iowa’s ‘sister state’

‘We are working through proper channels and requesting to speak with the U.S. 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,’ Iowa’s Congress representative Mariannette Miller-Meeks wrote on X. 

China’s President Xi Jinping this year pledged to invite 50,000 young Americans to China for study programs to boost people-to-people ties, but a State Department Level 3 travel advisory to China warning of possible arbitrary detention and exit bans remains in place.

There are currently fewer than 900 American exchange students studying in China compared to over 290,000 Chinese students in the United States, according to U.S. data. 

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