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Four lecturers from Cornell College in Iowa were attacked during a teaching trip to China, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

The American educators, who taught at Beihua University in the northeastern city of Jilin, were attacked in a park, the ministry said.

The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but told The Associated Press that it was aware of the reports of the stabbing and was monitoring the situation.

“We learned that on the morning of June 10, four foreign teachers from Beihua University … were attacked while touring the city’s Beishan Park,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Lin Jian told reporters on Tuesday. “All of the injured have been taken to hospital … none of them are in critical condition.”

Chinese police believe the incident was an “isolated case,” Lin said, adding: “The cultural and people-to-people exchanges between China and the United States serve the common interests of both sides and are positively supported by various sectors of both countries.”

“China is generally considered one of the safest countries in the world,” he said.

Jonathan Brand, president of Cornell College, told AP that the lecturers were attacked while they were with a faculty member from Beihua.


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Details about the identities and injuries of the four teachers have not been released publicly. Cornell College, a private school in Mount Vernon, Iowa, said it was still gathering information about the incident.

Major news agencies in China do not appear to be covering the news, but social media posts referring to “Jilin” and “Jilin Beishan Park” were among the top trending topics on microblogging site Weibo on Tuesday, and posts with the hashtag “Jilin Beishan Park” had over 4 million views.

Relations between Beijing and Washington remain tense, with tensions over trade and security issues in the Indo-Pacific.

Shibani Mahtani and Pei-Lin Wu contributed to this report.

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