Four American university professors stabbed in China RTL News

Vier universitair docenten uit Amerika neergestoken in China

Four American teachers were stabbed in the Chinese city of Jilin. This incident is considered bad for China, after the country opened its doors wide to foreign visitors.

China remained isolated for a long time due to strict Corona measures. But now there are questions about the safety of foreigners in China, known for its commitment to a harmonious society.

Attack in the park

The two Americans, who were studying at Pihua University, were attacked in a park on Monday. It’s not clear exactly what happened: Chinese authorities are censoring everything, resulting in only parts of the story emerging, partly via foreign (social media) media. But photos taken by passers-by show the victims lying in the street with profuse bleeding wounds.

Police say a 55-year-old man named Coy is believed to be responsible for the attack. He is said to have been arrested so far.

According to the police, a conflict arose when the man collided with an American in a park. Then he pulled out a knife and stabbed the four Americans who were there. A Chinese bystander who tried to help the Americans was also stabbed.

It is not clear what type of knife was used. It is also unknown why the suspect carried her. Weapons legislation is strict in China, and carrying stabbing weapons on the street is considered exceptional.

Open sink

The incident led to a cat-and-mouse game between curious Chinese and the censorship police, as messages on social media only last a very short time. Many Chinese express their concern and fear for their country’s reputation. There is also a lot of concern about American guests.

The topic received great attention on Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter, when well-known nationalist blogger Hu Shijin (25 million followers) announced: I started writing about it. Although Hu’s condolence message to the victims was quickly deleted, it seemed that the genie was out of the bottle: millions of Chinese watched it.

Concerns are growing in the United States. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds calls for prayers for the victims and their safe return home. One of the victims appears to be the brother of Iowa politician Adam Zapner. He says that he has now spoken to his brother and that he is in good health. According to Chinese authorities, other victims are also out of danger.

The stabbing raises questions about the safety of foreigners in China, a country generally known as a safe destination. Critics say the incident undermines Chinese government propaganda promising a harmonious China. For example, Wang Yaqiu of the Freedom House think tank says the incident could be a negative milestone in the relationship between China and the United States: “especially if China treats it with the usual secrecy and censorship.”

Tourism to China in a valley

The incident comes at an unfortunate time for China, which is witnessing a campaign to attract foreign visitors after the isolation caused by the Corona pandemic. Since this year, passport holders from a number of EU countries, including the Netherlands, have been able to stay in China without a visa for a short trip.

In the years before the coronavirus, the number of Dutch visitors to China rose steadily, to nearly 200,000 in 2018. But in the latest reference year 2022, this number was only 40,000.

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