Chinese Woman Dies after Protecting Japanese Mother, Child from Knife Attack; Japanese Embassy in China Flies Flag at Half-Mast as Tribute

Ichiro Ohara/The Yomiuri Shimbun
A flag is seen at half-mast at the Japanese Embassy in Beijing on Friday.
From the website of the Suzhou Municipal People’s Government’s Public Security Bureau
Hu Youping

GUANGZHOU, China/BEIJING — A Chinese woman who was stabbed while protecting a Japanese mother and child from a knife-wielding Chinese man in Suzhou, China, has died, according to local authorities.

Official media and Chinese social media have praised the actions of Hu Youping, 54, a bus assistant who suffered serious injuries after trying to stop the man.

The Japanese woman and her preschool-aged son were attacked while they were waiting at a bus stop. According to Xinhua News Agency, citing an eyewitness, Hu was riding the school bus when the incident occurred on Monday evening. She grabbed the man from behind during the attack. The man then stabbed Hu and continued to attack her even after she fell.

Thanks to the actions of Hu, injuries sustained by the mother and son were not life-threatening. Hu passed away on Wednesday after falling unconscious.

The Suzhou Municipal People’s Government’s Public Security Bureau said that Hu’s actions prevented the incident from being much worse.

News of Hu’s death rose to the top of the search rankings on Chinese social media Weibo. More than 20,000 comments were posted, calling her “great” and a “hero.”

The Japanese Embassy in Beijing and the Consulate-General in Shanghai expressed their condolences by flying flags at half-mast on Friday.

“On behalf of the Japanese government and people, I would like to express my deepest respect and sincere condolences for [the woman’s] courageous action,” Japanese Ambassador to China Kenji Kanasugi told reporters.

He emphasized that Japan would work with the Chinese authorities to ensure the safety of Japanese nationals.