Nine killed in latest China school rampage

Nine killed in latest China school rampage
# 13 May 2010 02:17 (UTC +04:00)
Baku – APA. Seven children and the owners of a kindergarten were hacked to death in northwest China on Wednesday, the latest in a string of assaults on schools, prompting officials to vow to "strike hard" to calm public alarm, APA reports quoting “Reuters”.
Eleven children were wounded in the attack soon after the school day started in Nanzheng county, a rural corner of Shaanxi province, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
Two children were in serious condition.
A 48-year-old man, Wu Huanming, used a kitchen cleaver to kill five boys and two girls as well as the mother-son team who owned and ran the private kindergarten, Xinhua said.
Wu then returned home and committed suicide, Xinhua said, citing a statement from the province emergency office. "His motive for the attack was not immediately known," it said.
One local man, Zheng Xiulan, said the attacker had rented out the rooms for the privately run kindergarten, located in a row of low houses with concrete yards.
"Only about two of the children in the kindergarten were not injured, but I don’t know how many died in the end. There was blood everywhere," Zheng told Reuters by telephone.
"I don’t know why he did it ... I hadn’t heard that he was mentally ill. He wasn’t poor either."
In the evening, dozens of police stood guard near the kindergarten, which had a wall over two meters high, behind which lay playground equipment and a house converted into classrooms. The police prevented reporters from speaking to locals.
The rampage is sure to stoke public demands for stricter school security after five attacks on school children in recent weeks. The country’s Ministries of Public Security and of Education quickly vowed harsh punishment of attackers.
"We insist on striking hard and on strict protection," officials were told in an urgent video conference, according to the Ministry of Public Security’s website (
"Strike so that criminals won’t dare touch children, and protect so that they cannot touch children," said the account of the meeting. The ministries vowed to check schools for vulnerabilities, "leaving no corners untouched."
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.
"Of course, we’re scared," said a resident of a village several kilometers from the kindergarten where the latest attack happened. She gave only her surname, Li.
"We’ve all heard about it. I also have grandchildren, but they’re already at primary school," Li said by telephone. "But everybody has to wonder why there are people who can do this."
While state media gave terse accounts of the killings, Internet comment reflected anger over the attacks, which have jarred with the government’s relentless focus on security.
"If security for the Beijing Olympics and Shanghai Expo can achieve a spotless record, why can’t school safety achieve a near spotless one?" said a commentator on the popular website. "The safety of leaders is important, but so is protecting the lives of children."
In five school attacks since March, 18 people were murdered -- all but three of them children -- and more than 80 were injured. China bans nearly all citizens from owning handguns, and the attackers used knives, cleavers and, in one case, a hammer.
"I personally feel that media reports about these attacks have helped to create a copy-cat effect," said Yang, the education expert. "People who are mentally unstable or who nurse hatred toward society then feel that this is a way of exacting revenge, or of making their demands."