Nine hacked to death in Chinese school rampage

2010-05-12 17:44

A disgruntled landlord hacked to death seven young children and two

adults with a meat cleaver at a kindergarten in northern China today in the

latest in a series of violent school attacks.

The incident in Shaanxi province, which ended with the assailant’s

suicide, was the fifth attack on children in less than two months and comes

despite a push to boost security in and around schools across the country.

Local villager Wu Huanming (48) used a kitchen cleaver to carry out

the killings in the city of Hanzhong, Xinhua news agency quoted the Shaanxi

provincial emergency office as saying.

Seven children – five boys and two girls – were killed along with

the kindergarten’s operator and her 80-year-old mother in the attack at the

start of the school day.

Another 11 children were injured, two of them seriously.

Wu returned home after the attack and committed suicide, Xinhua

said.

“The murderer has killed himself,” Xinhua quoted local official Wu

Xiaoyan as saying.

The ages of the child victims have not been released.

A preliminary police investigation found that Wu had rented a house

to the proprietor of the privately run kindergarten and was upset that the

property was not vacated in April, when the school’s lease expired.

The ministries of education and public security jointly issued an

“urgent notice” after the attack, calling for tighter security at the nation’s

schools.

A spate of similar attacks on young children has shocked the nation

and prompted the government to beef up security at schools due to fears of

copycat killings.

  • On April 30 in the eastern province of

    Shandong a farmer attacked children with a hammer, injuring five, before fatally

    setting himself on fire.

  • The day before, a disgruntled jobless

    man injured 29 children and three adults with a knife used for slaughtering

    pigs, at a kindergarten in the eastern city of Taixing in neighbouring Jiangsu

    province.

  • Earlier the same week, a 33-year-old

    teacher on sick leave due to mental health problems injured 15 students and a

    teacher in a knife attack at a primary school in the southern province of

    Guangdong.

  • In March, a former doctor enraged by a

    split with his girlfriend stabbed eight children to death and injured five

    others in Fujian province. He was executed last month.

Authorities across China have reportedly implemented measures to

strengthen schools’ security, increasing police patrols near school grounds and

boosting the monitoring of people known to be mentally ill.

Violent crime has increased in China as tight controls on society

have been loosened in concert with the country’s transition from a state-planned

to a capitalist economy.

Studies have also shown a rise in mental disorders, some linked to

stress as society becomes more fast-paced and communist-era supports are

scrapped.

A study last year estimated that 173 million adults in China had

some type of mental disorder, 91 percent of whom had never received professional

help.

Ma Ai, a criminal psychologist with the China University of

Political Science and Law in Beijing, said the country had failed to gauge how

sweeping economic change could affect the population’s psychological

well-being.

“The recent cases serve as a warning,” Ma told AFP.

“Hopefully in the future, we can improve... so that every person’s

mental development can be healthy and (people) have the ability to face this

environment and deal with it.”

 

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