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9 Slaughtered In Chinese Kindergarten; Killer Commits Suicide

Yet another deadly "social revenge" attack on Wednesday shook China when a person armed with a kitchen cleaver slaughtered seven children, their teacher and her 80-year-old mother at a kindergarten school before killing himself in
PTI May 12, 2010 19:12 IST
PTI

Yet another deadly "social revenge" attack on Wednesday shook China when a person armed with a kitchen cleaver slaughtered seven children, their teacher and her 80-year-old mother at a kindergarten school before killing himself in a northwestern village of the country.  The deadly rampage took place at about 8 am (local time) at the privately-run kindergarten in Linchang Village in the Shaanxi province when 48-year-old villager Wu Huanming, who apparently owned the school building, barged inside started hacking children.  Seven children - five boys and two girls - and their teacher 50-year-old Wu Hongying were killed on the spot and Wu's mother later died in the hospital, the Shaanxi Provincial Emergency Response Office said in a statement. 

Eleven other children were injured, two severely. They are being treated in hospital.  Wu Huanming returned home after his gory killings and committed suicide, the statement said.  An initial police investigation showed that Wu had been unhappy after a property dispute with the teacher Wu Hongying.  Wu Huanming had rented out his house to Wu Hongying to run the kindergarten, without approval from any government departments.  Wu Huanming demanded in April that his house should be vacated when the lease expired, but teacher said she hoped to return the property in June or July, during the school vacation, official Xinhua news agency reported.  About 20 children went to the kindergarten this morning, Zhao Leji, Chief of the local Communist Party of Shaanxi said. 

This is the seventh such gory attack on schools in different places since late March, in which 18 children have been killed and over 80 others including few teachers injured.  One attacker - a community doctor - has already been executed by firing squad after he was found guilty by local courts and another self immolated himself after killing the children.  The state-run media routinely carried rudimentary details of these attacks with some analysis by commentators. But not many details were available on what was the root cause of all these attacks which has now assumed a pattern, with enraged and unhappy men, generally regarded as failures targeting hapless children to vent their anger at easy targets.  Both the central and provincial government appeared clueless about how to deal with the attacks as they were not carried out by any organised networks but by desperate individuals.

Heavy security have been ordered in lakhs of schools all over the country with most of the schools employing guards and deployment of local police for protection.  These attacks were being generally described by local sociologists as "social revenge" or "copy cat" attacks. 

 "The attackers all have grudges against society. They all try to take revenge by attacking young and vulnerable," Ji Jianlin, a professor of clinical psychology at Shanghai's Fudan University said.  The incidents reflected social tension caused by rampant corruption and inequality and lack of social and psychological support in the rapidly changing society. 

"In the past, China's workers used to have social support from the unions or women's associations. They used to provide quite adequate support. It's now quite weak."  By attacking children, these men-who are themselves weak-achieve their goal (of hitting back at the society) in the shortest possible time said psychiatrist Wang Jian who works at Beijing's Huilongguan hospital.  Li Meijin, Professor of criminal psychology, blamed media attention for the growing number of attacks.  "When media portrayed the attacker as weak member of the society, it encouraged more people in similar situations to follow suit," she said. PT