Chinese national who protects Japanese people in knife-wielding incident in Suzhou passes away, mourned as city bravery model
Published: Jun 28, 2024 10:38 AM
Photo: Local authorities in Suzhou

Photo: Local authorities in Suzhou

A Chinese national, Hu Youping, who tried to stop an assailant attacking two Japanese people at a bus stop in Suzhou, East China's Jiangsu Province, was stabbed multiple times by the suspect and tragically passed away despite res-cue efforts. Local authorities in Suzhou have submitted a request to the city government to award Hu the title of "Suzhou City Bravery Model."

On Monday afternoon, a knife-wielding individual attacked people at a bus station in Suzhou resulting in one Chinese and two Japanese people being injured. The suspect, a 52-year-old male surnamed Zhou, who recently arrived in the city and was unemployed, was apprehended at the scene, Suzhou police said on Tuesday.

Hu, born in 1969, noticed someone attacking others with a knife at the Xindi Center bus stop on Tayuan Road in Suzhou High-Tech Zone around 4 pm on Monday.

She immediately rushed forward to stop the assailant without regard for her own safety. Hu was stabbed multiple times by the suspect and unfortunately passed away despite rescue efforts.

In the face of a severe threat to others' lives, Hu bravely stepped forward, disregarding her own safety, and fought against illegal and criminal acts, preventing further harm.

Of the two Japanese individuals involved in the incident, one is receiving hospital treatment but is not in life-threatening condition; the other was discharged the same day, according to a report of the Xinhua News Agency on the details of the incident.

According to the adult Japanese victim, Hu intervened to stop the assailant and was stabbed, falling to the ground, which allowed the victim's son to escape. Some witnesses at the scene reported that Hu first grabbed the assailant, then hugged him from behind. The assailant stabbed her in response and continued to stab her after she fell. The assailant was then subdued on the road by bystanders, a passing driver, and patrol officers. One witness stated, "If the assailant hadn't been stopped, more people would have been injured."

The Chinese Foreign Ministry expressed its condolences on Friday for the passing of Hu, offering sympathies to her family.

"I believe this Chinese woman exemplified the kindness and bravery of the Chinese people, reflecting the spirit of courage and helpfulness that is valued in China," Mao Ning, spokesperson for the ministry, said at a press conference.

Interviewed Suzhou residents expressed their outrage over the knife attack and their concern for the victims.

Sun Jing, who has worked and lived in Suzhou for many years, said that Suzhou is a friendly city where such violent incidents are extremely rare. She praised the heroic actions of Hu, noting that her tragic death deeply saddened every-one.

Her courageous and righteous actions showcased her noble qualities and strongly promoted social justice, according to a statement from the Suzhou police authority.

A representative of the Suzhou Japanese Society Commerce and Industry was quoted as saying in the Xinhua report that he expressed deep regret over the incident but emphasized that it was an isolated case.

He felt reassured by the swift and positive response from the local government, which provided comprehensive care and concern for the injured.

A spokesperson from the Suzhou Municipal Government was also quoted as saying in the media report that Suzhou has always taken and will continue to take effective measures to ensure the safety of everyone in the city, striving to build an open, inclusive, and well-governed community.

The incident sparked some extreme opinions that incited nationalistic sentiment, promoted group hatred, and even applauded criminal behavior in the name of patriotism on Chinese social media. Those comments were removed by these social platforms. 

The brave action of Hu has been widely applauded by Chinese netizens on Friday morning. The relevant posts have been trending on the most viewed on X-like Chinese social platform Weibo with over 13 million times of views.

"She protected a group of Japanese children in the bus, a real hero," a netizen said.

"Thank you for your bravery, we mourn your life. Your noble sacrifice proves that not all Chinese people are twisted and extreme," another netizen said.

The Japanese Embassy in China expressed on Friday morning that they are deeply saddened to hear that Hu tragically passed away despite rescue efforts.

"Hu protected innocent women and children from the attacker with her own strength, and we believe her courage and kindness represent the spirit of the Chinese people," the embassy said, paying their respects to Hu's heroic act and wishing her peace in her final rest.

The embassy has lowered its flag to half-mast on Friday to honor the passing of Hu. Some observers said while condemning criminal acts, the sense of justice demonstrated by ordinary Chinese nationals when confronting such behaviors must be recognized. 

For instance, in the recent incident in Northeast China's Jilin where four US nationals and one Chinese tourist were stabbed, Chinese people also acted bravely. 

In the face of violence, there is no distinction between Chinese and foreigners, only the struggle between justice and crime, reflecting the benevolent, friendly, and courageous spirit that is embedded in the DNA of Chinese society, some observers said.