US college instructor describes surviving China stabbing attack, says he didn't 'realize what was happening'

An American college instructor who was injured in a stabbing attack at a public park in China is now opening up about surviving the assault, saying in the moment, he “turned around to find a man brandishing a knife at me” and that he “didn’t immediately realize what was happening.”

David Zabner of Iowa’s Cornell College revealed the details in an interview with Iowa Public Radio following the incident Monday in northeast China’s Jilin province. He and three other tutors from Cornell College were stabbed while on a teaching exchange program with a partner university, Beihua, in Jilin City.

“I turned around to find a man brandishing a knife at me. I didn’t immediately realize what was happening. I thought my coworkers had been pushed, and he, for some reason was trying to push me,” Zabner told IPR. “And then I looked down at my shoulder and realized, ‘I’m bleeding. I’ve been stabbed.'”

China’s foreign ministryidentified the suspect as a 55-year-old man with the surname Cui, according to IPR. He has been taken into custody.

4 US COLLEGE INSTRUCTORS STABBED IN ATTACK AT CHINESE PUBLIC PARK

People gather around four American educators from Iowa’s Cornell College, who were reportedly stabbed in a public park in Jilin City, Jilin province, China. (Reuters)

“Police told us that he was unemployed and down on his luck, and that somebody in our group bumped into the man,” Zabner, who first visited Jilin City in 2019 to teach computer science courses, told IPR. “And he decided to respond in the way he responded.”

As of Tuesday morning, the radio station says Zabner and his colleagues are still recovering at a local hospital.

“We are deeply concerned by the stabbing of U.S. citizens in Jilin City, China. Our team has been in touch with these Americans and our PRC counterparts to ensure that the victims’ needs are met, and appropriate law enforcement steps are being taken,” White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan wrote on X. “We wish them a speedy recovery.”

China’s foreign ministry says that none of the injured are in a life-threatening condition and said the incident was a “random attack” that would “not affect normal people-to-people exchanges between China and the United States.

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The stabbing attack took place in northeast China’s Jilin province. (Google Maps)

Images circulating on social media purporting to be from the scene show two men and a woman on the ground, with one of the men’s clothes covered in blood.

“We are working through proper channels and requesting to speak with the U.S. Embassy on appropriate matters to ensure that the victims first receive quality care for their injuries and then get out of China in a medically feasible manner,” Iowa Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks wrote on X.

Chinese President Xi Jinping this year pledged to invite 50,000 young Americans to China for study programs to boost people-to-people ties. (Szilard Koszticsak/MTI via AP)

China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lin Jian said the incident was isolated, and an investigation is underway.

Fox News’ Michael Dorgan, Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Greg Norman is a reporter at Fox News Digital.

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