Chinese authorities have arrested a suspect in connection with the stabbing of four U.S. college instructors in a public park in the northeastern city of Jilin. The incident has drawn international attention, raising concerns over the safety of foreign nationals in China amid efforts to boost educational exchanges between the two nations.

The suspect, identified only by his last name, Cui, is a 55-year-old resident of Jilin's Longtan district. According to local police, the attack occurred after Cui allegedly collided with one of the instructors while walking in Beishan Park, a popular green space in Jilin city center. The confrontation escalated, leading Cui to stab the instructors and a Chinese tourist who intervened.

Police received the emergency call at 11:49 a.m. local time and promptly dispatched officers to the scene. The injured individuals were transported to a hospital for treatment. Authorities confirmed that none of the victims suffered life-threatening injuries.

"The injured have all received proper medical treatment and are not in danger of life," stated a police spokesperson. An investigation into the incident is ongoing.

The victims, who are educators from Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa, were participating in a partnership program with Beihua University in Jilin. Cornell College President Jonathan Brand confirmed the incident in a statement, noting that the college is in contact with the injured instructors and is assisting them during this difficult time. He emphasized that no students were involved in the program.

Footage of the aftermath, initially posted on Chinese social media but swiftly censored, showed two men and a woman lying on the ground with visible blood stains, surrounded by onlookers. They appeared conscious and were using their cell phones. CNN geolocated the video to Beishan Park.

China's Foreign Ministry confirmed the attack and assured that the incident was isolated. "The police initially determined that the case was an isolated incident and are currently under further investigation," said ministry spokesperson Lin Jian.

Among the injured was David Zabner, a doctoral student at Tufts University in the U.S., who was in China under the Cornell-Beihua relationship. Iowa state representative Adam Zabner, David's brother, expressed relief that his sibling was recovering. "I spoke to David a few minutes ago, he is recovering from his injuries and doing well," Rep. Zabner told CNN.

The U.S. State Department acknowledged the incident and is monitoring the situation. "We are aware of reports of a stabbing incident in China and are closely monitoring the situation," stated a department spokesperson.

The attack comes at a time when China is actively seeking to attract international visitors and boost educational exchanges following three years of stringent COVID-19 border controls. The incident, however, casts a shadow over these efforts, especially given the current geopolitical tensions between China and the U.S.

In response to the attack, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds called it a "horrifying attack," while Rep. Ashley Hinson vowed to ensure the safe return of the injured Iowans. "We will do everything in our power to bring these Iowans home safely," Hinson said.

On China's tightly controlled social media, discussions about the incident were quickly censored, with some users expressing concerns about its potential impact on China's international image. Despite this, the Chinese Foreign Ministry sought to reassure that the incident would not affect educational exchanges between China and the U.S. "China is widely recognized as one of the safest countries in the world," said spokesperson Lin Jian.

Cornell College's partnership with Beihua University, established in 2018, allows U.S. professors to teach in China. This collaboration is part of broader efforts to foster educational ties between the two countries, despite the recent challenges posed by the pandemic and bilateral tensions.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has recently emphasized the importance of such exchanges, announcing plans to invite 50,000 young Americans to China over the next five years. This initiative aims to strengthen personal ties and mutual understanding between the two nations.