(Beijing) A suspect was arrested in China according to the police after the attack, apparently with a stabbing weapon, of four American university professors, with Beijing referring to an “isolated case” on Tuesday.

Attacks on foreign nationals, especially Westerners, are extremely rare in China, where the streets are generally very safe at all hours. The number of physical attacks is infinitely lower than in the United States or Western Europe.

Cornell College University, in the state of Iowa (central United States), clarified on Monday that these four Americans worked as professors for the higher education establishment and were participating in an academic exchange in China.

They were injured during a “serious incident”, the establishment emphasized.

A spokesperson for the American State Department spoke of “a stabbing attack in Jilin”, a city in northeast China, located in the province of the same name.

China only confirmed this aggression on Tuesday.

“The suspect, named Mr. Cui, was arrested the same day” of the attack which took place in a Jilin park, the city’s police said in a statement, adding that the man in question is 55 years old.

In addition to the four Americans, a Chinese tourist who tried to intervene was also injured, police said.  

The five people are still hospitalized and their condition is stable, the press release emphasizes.

No reason has been given at this stage.

Beijing had previously referred to “an isolated case”.

“The police have made a preliminary assessment that this is an isolated case. An investigation is underway,” Lin Jian, a spokesperson for Chinese diplomacy, underlined Tuesday during a regular press briefing.

Unverified videos posted on foreign social media since Monday show several people on the ground receiving treatment, with bloodstains on their clothes and on the ground.

“China is generally recognized as one of the safest countries in the world. It has always taken effective measures and will continue to take relevant measures to effectively protect the safety of all foreigners in China,” Lin Jian assured.

The spokesperson said he was convinced that this incident will have no repercussions on academic exchanges between the two countries.

An Iowa lawmaker, Adam Zabner, told US television channel CNN that his brother was one of the victims.

“He’s doing well.” He was “stitched up and seems to be recovering,” said Mr. Zabner, adding that he spoke to his brother on Tuesday morning.