Seven children killed in Chinese knife attack

Man wielding knife outside school in Shaanxi province also leaves dozen children wounded

The incident took place as students were being dismissed at the Mizhi County No. 3 Middle School in Shaanxi province, about 805km southwest of Beijing. Source: Google maps

The incident took place as students were being dismissed at the Mizhi County No. 3 Middle School in Shaanxi province, about 805km southwest of Beijing. Source: Google maps

 

A man wielding a knife killed seven children and injured a dozen others outside a middle school in central China on Friday, authorities said, in one of the worst attacks at a Chinese school in recent years.

The incident took place around 6.10om local time (10.10pm GMT) officials said, as students were being dismissed at the Mizhi County No. 3 Middle School in Shaanxi province, about 805km (500 miles) southwest of Beijing.

The police said they had taken into custody a suspect, a man with the surname Zhao, born in 1990. They said the man was a graduate of the middle school and that he had told police he was seeking revenge because he was bullied during his time there.

“He attacked students because he hated the students there,” said a statement by the Mizhi County police posted on Weibo, a popular microblogging site.

Videos and images posted online by witnesses showed bodies spread along alleyways. Residents rushed for assistance, carrying the injured in their arms. “Hurry up, hurry up, call for help!” a woman shouted in one video.

The police said the dead included five girls and two boys.

In other videos, police walked down a street holding the neck of a man whose face was bloody. News reports identified him as the suspect.

The attack revived fears in China about school safety, a perennial concern among parents.

Knives are a weapon of choice in China, where guns and other weapons are strictly regulated.

“I thought campuses were safe without guns,” one user wrote on Weibo. Another user said it was necessary to take steps to stop more attacks. “Revenge can’t be forgiven but we need to find out how it began and prevent future cases.” In 2010, a spate of stabbings prompted the government to tighten security at schools, installing gates and cameras and training security guards to fend off attackers.

Experts have pointed to a lack of high-quality mental health care in China and anxieties caused by social upheaval and persistent inequality in explaining the attacks. While violent crime is rare in China, attacks have persisted. Assailants in school killings in China often receive severe punishments, including the death penalty.–NYT