May 12, 2010

7 Children + 2 Adults Hacked to Death in China

HEALTH - A total of seven kindergarten children, the school's manager and their teacher were hacked to death in the city of Hanzhong in central China today in the latest in a series of bizarre attacks. It was the fifth time someone had attacked school children since late March.

At 8 AM this morning a 48-year-old man with a meat cleaver attacked a class of 20 children, killing the teacher and the school's manager, seven children and injuring 11 more. Two of the injured children are critically injured and might die.

The man then killed himself with the meat cleaver.

Wu owned the property used by the school and had argued with the school's manager before embarking on the killing spree. The school was being illegally run on Wu's property without government permission and he wanted the land back before the government found out.

The Chinese government has been increasing security in recent months, adding security cameras and sometimes even guards, but the guards are rarely used and security cameras really just record the incident on tape.

The recent attacks have killed 17 and injured over 60 people. Some people point to China's shortage of mental health clinics and the social stigma in China associated wih mental health where its considered very shameful to have a mental illness and not discussed often.

Zhou Xiaozheng of Beijing's Renmin University claims that these men have contracted an infectious disease that affects the mind. "They pick children as targets because they are the weakest and most vulnerable," says Zhou.

Nonsense. More likely these are just copycat crimes wherein they've seen the coverage in the media.

The Chinese government is downplaying the incidents and refusing to connect the dots, worried about more copycat killers.

The first incident began with an attack on a primary school in late March in the city of Nanping in Fujian province where eight children were slashed to death by a former community clinic doctor with a history of mental health problems. Dozens have been wounded in similar attacks since then.

Recent scandals in which children have been the main victims have sparked public anger and occasional protests, such as when 3,000+ children around the country were found to have lead poisoning from polluting factories built too close to villages, and when 300,000+ infants were sickened by tainted baby milk powder.

Because the new government security measures are largely for show and many private kindergarten classes (essentially daycares) are run illegally these attacks could easily continue since illegal kindergarten facilities won't have much security. Such daycare locations are all too common in China.

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