China Experiences Rash of School Attacks

BEIJING and LEIZHOU, China—As a result of the recent attacks against schoolchildren, extra security has been added at Chinese schools.

There have been five attacks in five provinces in the last month, reports the Los Angeles Times. The attackers have been said to either have personal grudges or suffering from mental illness.

The most recent attack involved 45-year-old farmer, Wang Yonglai, who crashed through the front gate of a Weifang elementary school, armed with an iron hammer and a jug of gasoline.

Wang grabbed two children before dousing himself in gasoline and setting himself on fire, according to the Associated Press. Teachers were able to pull students to safety; however, Wang died. Five students were injured during the attack, but are now said to be in stable condition.

On April 28, 47-year-old former insurance agent Xu Yuyuan reportedly attacked the Zhongxin Kindergarten 4-year-old students with a knife about eight inches long, reports the New York Times. The suspect stabbed a security officer trying to stop him.

Five students are said to be in critical condition.

The day prior to this incident, 33-year-old Chen Kangbing wounded 15 fourth- and fifth-graders and a teacher at a primary school in Leizhou. No one was seriously injured during the attack.

Kangbing, a teacher, had been placed on leave since 2006 because he suffered from a mental illness. He is now in police custody.

Kangbing’s attack occurred on the same day that Zheng Minsheng, 42, was executed for the March 23 stabbing of eight primary school students.

Zhou Xiaozheng, a sociology professor at Renmin University, said these attacks often happen in clusters because one attacker may trigger other copycat attacks.

School districts throughout China have been distributing police batons, pepper spray and metal sticks with hooks at the end to subdue attackers with knives. Additionally, police have been standing guard in front of schools during the peak hours in the morning and afternoon when students are arriving and leaving the premises. Special riot police were asked to join the patrols April 30.

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