Eight dead, 20 hurt in China school attack, says state media

SEVEN children and a teacher were hacked to death and at least 20 others were injured in an attack at a kindergarten in northern China today, state media reported, citing local officials.

The official Xinhua News Agency said the attack happened at 8am (local time) at a kindergarten in Nanzheng county of Hanzhong city.   It did not give the ages of the victims or say who attacked them.  Liu Xiaoming, deputy director of the propaganda department of Hanzhong city, confirmed that seven children were killed and that about 20 others had been hurt.

“The murderer killed himself afterward,” Liu said.  The attack was the fifth violent assault on school children in less than two months, and comes despite a push to boost security in and around schools across the country.  The Xinhua news agency said the attack took place in the city of Hanzhong in Shaanxi province, and that the injured had been taken to hospital for treatment. No other details were immediately available.

Several similar attacks on young children late last month shocked the nation, and raised fears about possible copycat assailants.  In the eastern province of Shandong, a farmer attacked children with a hammer, injuring five, before fatally setting himself on fire on April 30.  The day before, a disgruntled jobless man injured 29 children and three adults with a knife used to slaughter pigs in an attack at a kindergarten in the eastern city of Taixing, in neighbouring Jiangsu province.

Earlier that same week, a 33-year-old teacher on sick leave due to mental problems injured 15 students and a teacher in a knife attack at a primary school in southern China’s Guangdong province.  And in March, a former doctor enraged by a split with his girlfriend stabbed eight children to death and injured five others in Fujian province. He was executed last month.  Authorities across China have already begun implementing measures to strengthen security at schools, increasing police patrols near school grounds, and boosting the monitoring of people known to be mentally ill.

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