Four Cornell College professors treated after ‘serious incident’ in China • Iowa Capital Dispatch

A suspect has been arrested in connection with an incident in which four Cornell College professors – one of them the brother of Iowa Rep. Adam Zabner – were injured on Monday while visiting a public park in the Chinese city of Jilin.

The Mount Vernon College instructors were teaching at Beihua University as part of a partnership between the two universities, Jonathan Brand, president of Cornell College, said in a statement. They were injured in a “serious incident” during a trip to the park where they were accompanied by a Beihua University instructor. No students were involved in the program, Brand said.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lin Jian said in a press conference on Tuesday that none of the instructors were in critical condition. The investigation into the incident is ongoing, but initial assessments indicate that it was an isolated case.

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The Associated Press reported Tuesday that Jilin police arrested a suspect in the stabbing, a 55-year-old man surnamed Ciu. According to the police report, Ciu was walking through a park on Monday when he collided with a foreigner and stabbed him and three others.

David Zabner, Adam Zabner’s brother and a graduate student at Tufts University who was in China as part of the partnership, was injured in the arm during the altercation, the lawmaker said in a social media statement. The lawmaker said David was “recovering from his injuries and doing well” and thanked Beihua University for the warm welcome and the local hospital for the care they gave him.

“My family is incredibly grateful that David survived this attack,” Adam Zabner said in his statement. “We want to see David back home in Iowa as soon as possible.”

The lawmaker also thanked the State Department and Iowa’s federal delegation, who are also working hard to bring the teacher home. U.S. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks posted on social media that she and her office are in contact with an Iowa family involved in the incident, as well as the State Department and the U.S. Consulate in China, to ensure the victims receive quality care and to work out plans to repatriate them to the United States.

US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns said on social media that he was “angry and deeply disturbed” by the incident and that he and others were doing what they could to support the victims.

Cornell College in Mount Vernon began its partnership with Beihua University in 2018, according to a press release at the time. The Chinese college provided funding for Cornell College faculty to live and teach in China for a two-week period. Classes would include computer science, mathematics and physics.

Jian said at the press conference that China is considered one of the safest countries in the world and this incident will have no impact on “human exchanges” between China and the United States.

“We have taken effective measures to ensure the safety of all foreign nationals in China and will continue to do so,” Jian said at the press conference.