BEIJING (AP) – A mentally ill man attacked six primary school students and a woman with a cleaver in the latest of a string of attacks on Chinese schoolchildren, authorities said Wednesday.
All seven victims were in stable condition and a suspect was apprehended, according to a spokeswoman from the Maoming city government in the southern province of Guangdong who, like many Chinese bureaucrats, declined to give her name.
The attack took place as students were returning home Tuesday afternoon in a village on the city’s outskirts.
Police recovered the cleaver used in the attack and detained a suspect about 10 hours later, identified in a statement from the Maoming police as a 32-year-old mentally ill man surnamed Liao.
China has suffered a series of sometimes deadly attacks on schoolchildren in recent years, many of them blamed on the mentally ill. That has highlighted what critics say is a chronic lack of screening and treatment for mental illness in China, as well as the growing pressures of an increasingly urbanizing society and rapid economic changes.
In the worst recent attack, a man hacked and injured 23 schoolchildren in December in the central province of Henan.
Kitchen knives are almost always used in such attacks because China bans almost all private citizens from owning firearms.