Thursday 21 September 2017

China in shock at third school attack

Jane Macartney in Beijing

CHINA has been rocked by a third school attack in as many days, with five kindergarten children beaten with a hammer by a man yesterday who, moments later, doused himself in petrol and burnt himself to death.

A teacher at the Shangzhuang Primary School in Weifang, in the eastern province of Shandong, was also attacked but neither his injuries nor those sustained by the children were believed to be life threatening.

The attacker, a farmer named as Wang Yonglai, used his motorcycle to ram through a gate to the school before lashing out with the hammer.

He grabbed two children from the pre-school class and held them against his body while dousing himself with petrol and setting himself alight. Teachers were able to pull the children to safety.

There has been a string of similar attacks in China in recent years, prompting emergency security measures at schools nationwide.

Many schools now have guards armed with restraint poles, truncheons or pepper spray, and parents have organised volunteer teams to escort children to and from school. Some schools have been given police posts on the premises.

Such measures proved ineffective, however, on Thursday when a 47-year-old unemployed man attacked another kindergarten in southeastern Jiangsu province, slashing 29 children, two teachers and a caretaker with a knife. Five children were seriously injured.

Xu Yuyuan, who was subdued by neighbours, told police that the attack was a "revenge on society" after a series of business and personal humiliations.

On Wednesday, a 33-year-old former teacher with a history of mental illness stabbed 16 pupils and a teacher at a primary school in southern Guangdong province.

Horrifying

The Education Ministry issued a directive calling on schools to boost security -- but such directives are nothing new.

They were initially ordered in 2004 after an attack that left nine pupils dead at a school in Beijing.

'The China Daily' echoed the thoughts of many Chinese in an editorial.

"It can be easy to put killers on trial and execute them but it is far more difficult to find out the deep-seated causes behind such horrifying acts.

"We should find out what propelled them to such extremes. What problems do they have? Could anyone have helped, especially the authorities," it asked. (© The Times, London)

Irish Independent

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