4 Iowa college instructors stabbed in China while visiting partner university

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Four instructors from an Iowa college were stabbed in a public park in China over the weekend while in the country to teach at a partner university, according to school officials and lawmakers.

The instructors from Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa were attacked inside Beishan Park in Jilin City Sunday during a visit there with a faculty member from Beihua University, the president of the small private college said Monday.

“We have learned that four Cornell instructors teaching as part of a partnership with a university in China were injured in a serious incident during a daytime visit to a public park while accompanied by a faculty member of the partner institution,” Cornell President Jonathan Brand said in a statement.

“We have been in contact with all four instructors and are assisting them during this time.”

Video posted to X reportedly shows the blood-soaked victims lying on the ground in the aftermath.

No students were taking part in the long-standing program between Cornell College and Beihua University, Brand added.

The family of one of the victims told Iowa Public Radio that all four instructors survived the attack and are being treated at a nearby hospital. Their current conditions are unknown.

Iowa lawmakers — and video reportedly showing the blood-soaked victims lying on the ground in the aftermath — confirmed that the teachers were “brutally stabbed.”

Cornell College confirmed four of its instructors were injured “in a serious incident” while enjoying the park in Jilin City, China.

“Horrified that multiple Cornell College faculty members were brutally stabbed in China,” said Rep. Ashley Hinson, whose district includes the college. “My team has been in communication with Cornell College & will do everything in our power to bring these Iowans home safely. Join me in praying for their health & safety.”

It’s unclear what led up to the stabbing and whether the attack was targeted or random.

Videos and photos of the attack posted to Chinese social media sites like Weibo were quickly taken down, but some of the footage still made its way to X.

The instructors were in China to teach at Beihua University, which Cornell College has a long-standing partnership with. Courtesy Cornell College

The US State Department said it was aware of reports of a stabbing involving Americans in China and is monitoring the situation.

The State Department had previously issued a Level 3 travel advisory — the second-highest level — for mainland China over arbitrary detentions and exit bans that could trap Americans in the country.

Some US colleges and universities have suspended partnerships and programs with institutions in China due to the advisory.

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