Fri, Apr 30, 2010 - Page 1 News List

Man stabs 28 kindergartners in China


A knife-wielding man attacked a kindergarten class of four-year-olds in eastern China yesterday, slashing 28 children in what an expert said was a copycat rampage of two other episodes at schools in the past month.

A 47-year-old jobless man, Xu Yuyuan (徐玉元), burst into a classroom at the Zhongxin Kindergarten early yesterday, waving a 20cm knife and stabbing a security guard who tried to stop him, Xinhua news agency reported.

Five students were in critical condition following the attack in Jiangsu Province’s Taixing city and two teachers and the security guard were injured, said Zhu Guiming (朱桂明), an official with the Taixing propaganda department.

A series of school attacks in China in recent years have mostly been blamed on people with personal grudges or suffering from mental illness, leading to calls for improved security.

China’s inadequate mental health network has left millions of unstable people without the help they need. Many otherwise healthy Chinese also feel frustrated and powerless because they aren’t able to adapt to the constant social upheaval and because they believe the changes favor the corrupt. That kind of anger has occasionally erupted in mass violence and in isolated attacks. It is not known why schools are targeted.

On Wednesday, a teacher on sick leave because of mental illness broke into a primary school in Guangdong Province’s Leizhou city and wounded 15 students and a teacher in a knife attack. That attack came on the same day a man was executed for stabbing and killing eight children last month.

Zhou Xiaozheng (周孝正), a sociology professor at Renmin University in Beijing, said these sorts of violent attacks often happen in clusters because one may trigger copycat attacks.

“It’s like suicide, which is another type of mental health problem that can spread in a community,” Zhou said.

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