Four Cornell College instructors stabbed while in China, suspect reportedly detained

The instructors were in China as part of a long-standing partnership between the eastern Iowa Cornell College and Beihua University in Jilin City.


Four instructors from were injured in a stabbing in Jilin City, China on Sunday, according to a college spokesperson.

The instructors were in China as part of a long-standing partnership between Cornell College in Iowa and Beihua University, a state-owned public university in Jilin City, said Jill Hawk, public relations and digital content director. They were visiting a park over the weekend when the attack occurred, the Des Moines Register, part of the USA TODAY Network, reported.

Jilin City is the second-largest city and former capital of the Jilin providence in northeast China.

All four are U.S. citizens, Hawk said. The instructors have communicated with Cornell College, but the extent of their injuries was not publicly known, she said.

Here's what to know.

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Who was arrested in the stabbing?

A 55-year-old man, identified by Chinese authorities only by his last name, Cui, was in custody in connection with the crime, CNN reported.

The man is from the city's Longtan district, and police said he was walking in the park when he bumped into a foreigner, then stabbed that person and the three other foreigners who were with him, The Associated Press reported. He also allegedly stabbed a Chinese person who tried to intervene.

Where is Cornell College?

Cornell College is a private liberal arts college in Mount Vernon, Iowa, about 14 miles east of Cedar Rapids.

It is separate from Cornell University, the Ivy League school in Ithaca, New York.

Who was injured in the stabbing?

Iowa State Rep. Adam Zabner posted on social media Monday that his brother, David Zabner, was one of the four instructors. David Zabner is a doctoral student at Tufts University and was in China as part of a relationship between Cornell College and Beihua University, Zabner said.

"I spoke to David a few minutes ago, he is recovering from his injuries and is doing well," Zabner posted. "He reiterated his gratitude to Beihua University for their warm welcome and care he received at the local hospital."

Local officials react to stabbing

Cornell President Jonathan Brand said in a statement sent to Cornell students that the four "were injured in a serious incident during a daytime visit to a public park while accompanied by a faculty member of the partner institution."

"We have been in contact with all four instructors and are assisting them during this time. There were no students taking part in this program," Brand wrote.

USA TODAY has reached out to Cornell College for more information.

Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R-Iowa, said in a statement Monday that her office was in touch with an Iowa family that was affected as well as the U.S. Embassy to ensure the victims are treated and brought back to the U.S. once it is medically feasible.

Gov. Kim Reynolds asked on X for Iowans to "pray for their full recovery, safe return, and their families here at home."