What the hell is going on? I know times are tough, I know there is huge economic disparity between the rich and the poor, I know nobody likes you, I know your boss made you lose face, I know society looks down on you, I know your parents beat you. But why the fuck do you feel your only out is to go to a primary school with a knife and start stabbing kids?

When I opened this story this morning I couldn’t figure out why AP had written an article about the school stabbings in southern China that happened more than a month ago. Were they trying to pass it off as current events on a slow news day? Had they gotten their dates wrong? Was it just sensationalized Western media begging to cast China in a negative light? Nope — this was a totally different cockhead, a totally different school in a totally different province — trying again to kill kids at school.

GUANGZHOU, China – A teacher wielding a knife broke into a primary school in southern China and stabbed 15 students and a teacher Wednesday, the same day another school attacker was executed for killing eight children last month, police and state media reported.

The attacker taught at another primary school nearby, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

The attacker, identified by a local official as Chen Kangbing, broke into Leicheng No. 1 Primary School in Leizhou city about 3 p.m. (0700 GMT) and hacked at the students and teacher, Xinhua said. He teaches at the Hongguan Primary School in nearby Baisha town, the report said. He is in police custody.

The fourth and fifth graders were stabbed in their heads, backs and arms, Xinhua said, citing comments from Li Changwu, Leizhou city’s Communist Party secretary.

A nurse at emergency clinic of Leizhou People’s Hospital said staff there treated eight of the students for knife wounds to the head. “None of them have life-threatening injuries,” said the nurse, who would give only her surname Wu.

Thankfully this nutjob was less successful in his murderous ambitions than Zheng Minsheng, the doctor who at the end of March entered a school in Nanping, Fujian, and brutally cut short the lives of 8 kids.

The thing that unnerves me is how minor this news tends to be in China. Where in my home country this would be sensational news that would grip the nation for a week or two, the news in China barely makes it through a news cycle before being forgotten. I can think of a lot of reasons why this is the case, but they all point to what seems to be an unspoken mandate the media has that basically states they will not shine too bright a light on anything lest we be expected to connect the dots between a pattern of behavior that points to flaws in the system.

Update: Not even an hour after hitting “post”, this happened: “Man stabs children at Chinese kindergarten“.

Two children and three adults are critically ill and 23 other pupils have injuries after a man burst into a nursery in east China and knifed them this morning – the second such attack in two days.

Most of the victims were only four years old, said officials in Jiangsu province. Two teachers and a security guard were wounded in the attack at 9.30am.

Anxious parents crowded outside the closed kindergarten, desperate for news of their children.

Police have detained a 47-year-old suspect, Xu Yuyuan, officials in Taixing said. They told a press conference that his motive was unclear.

For fuck’s sake. (h/t to Alex in the comments for pointing it out).

Additional (somewhat recent) Teacher-Student School Violence


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  2. Never read any reasoning behind the attacks. I doubt the press here will report “why”. Only that it happened, and that in itself is surprising in this “happy everyday” harmonica society. Where there ARE reasons given, they’re pretty pathetic to say the least.

    The one a month ago: “According to the people around him, suspect’s motive could be that he felt people around look down on him; both marriage and work are unsuccessful so he felt that he has no reason to live.”

    Ripping the kid’s cheek off: “When his teacher, Guo, found out that young Zheng had not completed his homework, she flipped out.”

    Frozen to death: “Zhang Jixin (张继鑫) climbed out of the dormitory walls to buy food for another student on the evening of December 17th 2009.”

    How much goes unreported?

  3. Ryan, to me, the answer is quite simple. If you’ve finally had enough and you want to get even with society for the shabby treatment you received at their hands; attack, kill a few children.

    We all know the value of the child (enhanced by the one-child policy)in China family. What better way to drive a stake into the heart of your tormentor and have his tortured soul live in hell, forever.

    Revenge at its worst – or best.

    • You know what Ryan? Regarding your comment “The thing that unnerves me is how minor this news tends to be in China.”, people in the Chinese internet world are already calling the media to sanitize these news as not to make them so “sensational” or “over-board”

    • W.D. Box is right about these killers going for where it hurts the most (children really are valued).

      Of course it still doesn’t obscure the fact that they are cowards, only picking on the most innocent and defenseless victims.

  4. Agreed how disturbing this is ….. add to it a few other news stories (3-4 kidnappings of school children here in SZ that resulted in the children being killed by the kidnappers) and just the other day of a truck driver hitting a lady with her 4-month old in a stroller (he drove off with the baby/stroller stuck under his truck) ….and your post makes it even more horrific.

    I’m more disturbed about how this happens more than the reporting of it …. what sort of culture breads this type of action? How can one defend against it other than locking your kids at home?

    And the first guy Zheng was executed yesterday.

  5. @Yokie Kuma: Yeah, please don’t get me wrong — the “how”, or rather the “why”, is what I mean when I’m talking about the media. The reporting is simply a mirror to a general apathy that so easily cloaks and envelopes life here. It doesn’t allow for an examination of the causes, and a strong national desire to make sure it stops.

    @Alex: Cheers for pointing that out. I’ve added mention of it to the post. Though critical, I’ve thankfully not read of any deaths reported yet. Four year olds… seriously? I just can’t think of any punishment that could fit that crime — and I’m not lacking in imagination.

    • The precaution measures taken by kindergardens/schools after this attack was to hire security guards, build higher fences and changing policies so that no child is left unprotected at any moment during school time.

  6. It seems like an odd choice for someone to vent their rage at society/family/economy/whatever by going after schoolkids who are not connected to the attacker in any way, but the fact that they’re just little kids means that the attacker can do damage rather than simply make threatening gestures before being tackled by policemen/security guards. These people obviously want to hurt people and defenseless kids are easy targets. Most of the children in the most recent attacks escaped serious injury, but the emotional and psychological damage must be far more enduring, not to mention the effects on the parents, who are already fearful every day when the kids walk out the door to go to school.

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  10. gentlemen we have an availability bias going on here. I actually doubt there is a huge rash of kindergarten attacks in China. you have a population of 1.3+ billion, statistically this shit probably goes down all the time in China, probably just not reported.

    No doubt there are thousands upon 10,000s of criminal and spiteful incidents that happen everyday in China just due to the number of people….to be honest I’m surprised there isnt more considering the extreme pressure Chinese people and society place upon themselves.

    it is a powder keg

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  12. Of course there’s cover-up. The Shanghai Expo’s going on, they don’t want people to get the idea that things actually happen in China. It’s a perfectly harmonious society, nobody ever gets murdered here, right?

    The cover-up has even been extended to the parents of the children, who have apparently not been allowed into the hospital to see their children. Is it possible that some of the children are actually dead?

    Remember how bad the Virginia Tech shooting looked? The Columbine kids even got their own Michael Moore film. It makes sense that the Chinese government would cover all this up in the midst of “Better city, better life.”

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