BEIJING (AP) - A farmer attacked and injured five kindergarten
students with a hammer in eastern China before burning himself to
death Friday in the latest in a string of horrific assaults on
children at Chinese schools, state media reported.
The attacker used a motorcycle to break down a gate of the
school in Shandong province's Weifang city, struck a teacher who
tried to block him and then used the hammer to attack the children,
the official Xinhua News Agency said.
The assailant then grabbed two children before pouring gasoline
over his body and lighting himself on fire, but teachers at the
Shangzhuang Primary School were able to pull the children away to
safety, Xinhua said. The man died, but none of the children had
life-threatening injuries, Xinhua said.
Xinhua identified the attacker as Wang Yonglai, a local farmer,
but had no further details.
China has been reeling from a series of attacks on
schoolchildren, with the latest incident coming just a day after a
47-year-old unemployed man rampaged through a kindergarten in
Taixing city in Jiangsu province, wounding 29 students aged 4 or 5
years old, five of them seriously.
Experts called that a possible copycat rampage triggered by
similar incidents Wednesday and last month. They said the wave of
school attacks falls amid poor care for the mentally unstable and
growing feelings of social injustice in the fast-changing country.
The attacker in Taixing, identified as Xu Yuyuan, pushed his way
into a classroom with an eight-inch (20-centimeter) knife after two
teachers and a security guard failed to stop him. No motive has
Xu had been a salesman in a local insurance company until he was
fired in 2001. Since then, he has remained jobless, Xinhua said.
On Wednesday, a man in the southern city of Leizhou broke into a
primary school and wounded 15 students and a teacher in a knife
attack. The suspect, Chen Kangbing, 33, was a former teacher who
had been on sick leave since 2006 for mental health problems. The
assault left fourth and fifth graders with stab wounds on their
heads, backs and arms, but none was in life-threatening condition.
That attack came the same day a man was executed for stabbing
eight children to death outside an elementary school last month in
the southeastern city of Nanping.
The attack in March shocked China because eight children died
and the assailant had no known history of mental illness. At his
trial, Zheng Minsheng, 42, said he killed because he had been upset
after being jilted by a woman and treated badly by her wealthy
family. He was executed Wednesday, just a little over a month after
Another attack earlier this month occurred when a mentally ill
man hacked to death a second grader and an elderly woman with a
meat cleaver near a school in southern Guangxi, and wounded five
other people, including students.
After a 2004 attack at a school in Beijing that left nine
students dead, the central government ordered tighter school
security nationwide. Regulations that took effect in 2006 require
schools to register or inspect visitors and keep out people who
have no reason to come inside.