4 Iowa Instructors Teaching At A Chinese University Were Attacked At A Park

MOUNT VERNON, Iowa (AP) — Four Iowa college instructors teaching in China were attacked in a reported stabbing while visiting a public park, Cornell College and the U.S. State Department confirmed Monday.

Cornell College President Jonathan Brand in a statement said the instructors were at the park with a faculty member from Beihua University when the attack occurred. Cornell spokesperson Jen Visser in an email said the private school in Mount Vernon partners with Beihua University near Jilin City in northeastern China.

The State Department said in a statement that it is aware of reports of a stabbing and that it is monitoring the situation. Details on the extent of the instructors' injuries and whether the attack was targeted or random were unclear Monday. Visser said the college was still gathering information on what happened.

U.S. Rep. Mariannette Jane Miller-Meeks of Iowa wrote in a social media post that she was trying to reach the U.S. Embassy to ensure the victims get good health care and return to the U.S. as soon as possible.

The attack happened as both Beijing and Washington are seeking to maintain people-to-people exchange to prevent bilateral relations from falling off.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has unveiled a plan to invite 50,000 young Americans to China in the next five years, while Chinese diplomats say a travel advisory by the U.S. State Department has discouraged Americans from going to China.

Citing arbitrary detentions as well as exit bans that could prevent Americans from leaving the country, the State Department has issued the Level 3 travel advisory — the second highest warning level — for mainland China, urging Americans to “reconsider travel” there. Some American universities have suspended their China programs due to the travel advisory.