Family of bus attack heroine Hu Youping thank public for kindness, rebuff donation offers

The family of a Chinese woman fatally wounded protecting a Japanese mother and child from a knife attack has asked the public to respect their privacy and turned down offers of donations.

The official Suzhou Daily reported on its Weibo account on Saturday that the family of school bus employee Hu Youping was thankful for the many expressions of concern and condolence.

“We are very grateful for everyone’s kindness … If kind-hearted people wish to donate to promote positive energy, we suggest they donate to foundations across the country for courageous acts,” the family was quoted as saying.

Hu, 54, died on Wednesday, two days after she was stabbed multiple times trying to restrain an attacker at a school bus stop. The man first attacked the mother and child waiting at the stop and then tried to get on the bus, which was carrying Japanese schoolchildren.

Suzhou police said Hu immediately rushed to help and her courageous act “prevented more people from being hurt”.

The mother, who was also wounded, was quoted by state news agency Xinhua as saying Hu stopped the attacker and enabled her son to escape.

The attacker was a 52-year-old unemployed man, it said.

Hu’s bravery prompted suggestions online that the local government create an account for the family that the community could contribute to.

But the family said that after discussions among its members “we decided not to accept donations or gifts, and hope not to be disturbed. We only hope that the deceased will rest in peace and the family can return to a peaceful life as soon as possible.”

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Hu Youping, 54, died of her wounds two days after the attack on Monday. Photo: peopleapp.com

The Japanese embassy in Beijing flew its flag at half-mast on Friday in tribute to Hu.

Ambassador Kenji Kanasugi also posted a video on the embassy’s WeChat account, offering his respects and sincere condolences on behalf of the Japanese government and Japanese people for Hu.

Kanasugi described the school bus attendant’s courage and kindness as representative of the general Chinese public.

The ambassador said an initial police investigation concluded that the incident was an isolated one, although inquiries were continuing into the suspect’s motive and details of the incident.

Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said Hu exemplified the kindness and bravery of the Chinese people and their willingness to help others.

Other tributes to Hu included a light display on the Tianjin Radio and Television Tower in the northern municipality of Tianjin describing the deceased as “A Hero with a Capital H”.

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Tianjin Radio and Television Tower lights up in honour of Hu Youping in Tianjin on Friday night. Photo: Weibo

The attack ignited a flurry of ultranationalist and anti-Japanese comments on Chinese social media, which were quickly deleted.

Weibo said on Wednesday that it had banned 36 accounts for posting such comments.

“Some individual users have posted extreme remarks that incite national sentiment and promote group hatred, even calling for criminal acts in the name of patriotism,” Weibo said.

Monday’s attack was the latest knife incident in which people have been wounded in public places.

On June 10, a 55-year-old Chinese man was arrested for stabbing four US university tutors at a public park in the northern province of Jilin.

“Police told us that he [the Chinese man] was unemployed and down on his luck, and that somebody in our group bumped into the man,” one of the four American college instructors was quoted as saying by NBC News. “And he decided to respond in the way he responded.”

In Shanghai, a man allegedly wounded three passengers with a knife at a subway station on June 19.

And a man was arrested in Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region in southern China on Friday accused of stabbing two people to death after an argument, according to Shanghai-based news outlet The Paper.

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