Chinese woman who tried to shield Japanese mother and her child from bus stop knife attack dies

A Chinese woman, who tried to protect a Japanese mother and her child during a knife attack at a bus stop earlier this week in China, has succumbed to her injuries, officials said.

Hu Youping, who worked as a school bus attendant, was injured after a man attempted to attack a bus carrying students in Suzhou city in the latest knife attack on foreigners in the country. She died on Wednesday, according to a report by the Chinese state news agency Xinhua.

The 54-year-old’s death was confirmed by officials at the Japanese embassy in China which lowered its flag to half mast to honour her death.

“[We] believe that her courage and kindness represented the general Chinese public. We hereby salute Ms Hu’s great act of justice and may she rest in peace,” the embassy said.

Hu will be honoured with the title of “righteous and courageous role model”, the Suzhou police said on their website.

The mother was waiting at the bus stop to pick up her child from a nearby Japanese school when the attack happened, reported Japanese public broadcaster NHK.

Two buses were at the stop at the time of the attack, a woman who was at the scene told NHK. She said she heard screams from near the buses and saw a man in his late 50s grabbing a boy while holding a knife.

The bus attendant and parents subdued the attacker with the help of an umbrella and a bag, it said.

The school bus belonged to Suzhou Japanese School, which is located less than a mile away from the area where a sizable Japanese population lives.

The Jiangsu province neighbourhood hosts many manufacturing plants for Japanese companies.

While knife attacks on foreigners have increased recently, stabbings are not uncommon in China which has tight gun control laws.

“Recently, stabbings have been reported in public places (parks, schools, subways, etc) throughout China,” the Japanese consulate in Shanghai said in a statement.

The Japanese embassy confirmed that the man was detained and the mother and child’s injuries were not serious.

In an email sent to Japanese nationals living in China, the Japanese embassy asked them to take precautions as stabbing incidents have occurred in various parts of China in public places including parks, schools and subways.

China appeared to downplay the incident, calling it isolated. A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said on Tuesday the incident could have happened in any country in the world.

It was the latest stabbing attack on foreign nationals in the country. Earlier this month, four US college instructors were stabbed and injured in an attack in a public park in the northeastern city of Jilin.