A GERMAN tourist is recovering in hospital after being repeatedly stabbed in Tiananmen Square on Saturday, the eve of China's National Day. The woman, aged 59, was with a German tour group when a young Chinese woman emerged from the crowd of holiday-makers, stabbed her in the back and the arm with a knife and fled, leaving the weapon embedded in her victim's arm. A German Embassy spokesman said police were searching for the assailant. So far, neither her identity nor a motive were known. The victim, who cannot be identified under German laws, was taken by ambulance to the Xiehe Hospital and, after a lengthy operation, is now recovering. 'She was on the square and with another friend when they became separated from the rest of the group,' embassy spokesman Elke Tiedt said. 'A young Chinese woman suddenly came and stabbed her; she was shocked and turned around and was stabbed again in the back. The Chinese girl then disappeared in the crowd.' The woman was on a tour organised by China International Travel Service and the DER travel company. Another source described the Chinese woman as about 25, well-dressed and wielding a 22-centimetre knife. 'The attack took place around 3 pm under the portrait of Sun Yat-sen. The victim's companion pulled out the knife and there was blood everywhere. Five minutes later, the police came and summoned an ambulance,' the source said. Tiananmen Square is under tight security with police guarding against political protests but the attacker is suspected of being mentally deranged rather than staging a protest or attempting theft. At the hospital, doctors demanded payment in advance before operating and the tour leader was sent out at midnight to find a hotel to change money. 'The staff were very concerned to find out if the victim was insured and had enough money to pay her hospital fees. 'Officials from the China International Travel Service also came and immediately demanded 1,600 yuan (HK$1,488) to pay for the ambulance and translator,' the source said. Detectives have asked witnesses to look through police photographs to identify the assailant. Such incidents are rarely reported by the Chinese press.