BEIJING Aug 10 Western tourists sightseeing in
a rainy Tiananmen Square on Sunday were unfazed by a fatal
attack on an American tourist in Beijing, saying it could
happen anywhere in the world.
Todd Bachman was fatally stabbed and his wife Barbara
suffered multiple lacerations in an unprovoked attack around
noon on Saturday at the Drum Tower, a popular tourist spot.
Their Chinese attacker then leapt to his death from the tower.
With 500,000 overseas visitors expected in Beijing for the
Aug 8-24 Olympics, the murder comes as an embarrassment for
China which has been a pains to highlight the security steps it
is taking. But tourists were not concerned about their safety.
"It is tragic for the family concerned but it won't change
our plans. This really could happen anywhere," Canadian tourist
Linda Heathcott from Calgary told Reuters.
The crime rate is relatively low in China where serious
offences carry the death penalty and attacks on foreigners are
But the U.S. and British governments have warned in online
travel advisories that crime against foreigners is on the rise
as breakneck economic growth brings a widening wealth gap.
The Ministry of Public Security reported 4.75 million
criminal cases in 2007, up from around 2 million in the 1990s,
with the majority robberies and burglaries. It does not give a
breakdown on how many crimes were against foreigners.
The U.S. government said over the past year incidents of
violence against foreigners, including sexual assaults, have
taken place, usually in urban areas near bars and nightclubs.
"Robberies, sometimes at gunpoint, have occurred in western
China and more recently in Beijing," it said.
But most tourists were confident of their safety in
Austrian tourist Michael Dojacek from Vienna said he felt
safe with so many police and soldiers on duty in the streets.
"But I am going to be staying with my tour group though as
it is when you go off on your own you could get trouble," he
Students Julia Tsybulevskaya from Rostov, Russia, and
Naveed Anjum from Abbottabad, Pakistan, said they never felt
unsafe walking around Beijing, even late at night.
"In Moscow there is no way I would walk at night as I do
here," said Tsybulevskaya.
The motive for the attack on the Bachmans, the
parents-in-law of the New Zealand-born coach of the U.S. men's
volleyball team, Hugh McCutcheon, was unknown.
Police have said the attacker, Tang Yongming, 47, from the
eastern city of Hangzhou, had no previous criminal record.
Barbara Bachman was in a critical but stable condition in
hospital on Sunday after eight hours of surgery.
(Additional reporting by Benjamin Kang Lim)