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Asia-pacific

Kindergarten attacker kills six children in latest school violence

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-05-12

Six children and a teacher were killed in an attack on a kindergarten in China's northwestern Shaanxi province on Wednesday, Xinhua news agency reported. At least 20 others were wounded in the latest of a string of attacks on school children.

REUTERS - Six children and a teacher were hacked to death in an attack on a kindergarten in northwest China on Wednesday, the latest in a string of assaults on children that has stoked public alarm about the government's grip on safety.

 
At least 20 children were also wounded in the attack that happened at about eight in the morning in Nanzheng County, a rural corner of Shaanxi province, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
 
"The murderer has killed himself," Wu Xiaoyan, an official in Nanzheng, told Xinhua. It gave no other details.
 
Xinhua had earlier reported the seven dead were all children.
 
The attack, which follows a series of stabbings at Chinese schools and universities in recent years, is sure to stoke widespread public disquiet after five attacks on school children in the last few weeks.
 
Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao issued orders demanding action after the recent incidents, the country's top law-and-order official, Zhou Yongkang, told officials to beef up school security and police have vowed to identify people who could pose a threat to children.
 
But the latest attack will raise even more public pressure on the ruling Communist Party, which has made a tough stance on crime a pillar of its top-down authority.
 
The deaths of children strike an especially deep chord in a country where most urban families are allowed to have only one child, said Yang Dongping, an expert on education at the Beijing Institute of Technology.
 
"I personally feel that media reports about these attacks have helped to create a copy cat effect," Yang told Reuters.
 
"People who are mentally unstable or who nurse hatred towards society then feel that this is a way of exacting revenge, or of making their demands."
 
In the five previous school attacks since March, 17 people died -- all but two of them children -- and over 80 were injured.
 
In late April a hammer-wielding man doused with gasoline set himself alight after injuring five children and a teacher in Shandong province in eastern China.
 
Before that, a teacher stabbed and wounded 18 students and a teacher at a primary school in southern Guangdong province.
 
Yang, the education expert, said the latest attack would drive parents to demand even stricter security around Chinese schools.
 
"But it would be unrealistic to mobilise all the police around schools", he said. "The real issues may be how the media report these incidents, as well as the broader social environment."

 

Date created : 2010-05-12

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