BEIJING -- A man with a knife slashed 22 children and one adult outside an elementary school in Henan province Friday morning, China's worst such incident in more than a year.
The attack was reminiscent of a spate of knife attacks on schoolchildren that took place across China in 2010. In most cases, the attackers were unemployed middle-aged men, leading to speculation that the assaults stemmed from economic and social discontent.
Friday's attack occurred at about 7:40 a.m. as children were arriving outside the gate of Chenpeng Village’s Wanquan Elementary School. The suspect, Min Yingjun, 36, allegedly slashed an elderly woman as well as the children. Local propaganda officials said later that Min had a psychological illness.
Pictures uploaded to the Internet by bystanders show family members carrying young children with bandages on their heads. The local reports state that four seriously wounded children were transferred to other hospitals for intensive care.
The scene of the attack lies within the limits of Xinyang City, a mountainous and poor municipality 600 miles south of Beijing. The region is renowned for maojian, a bitter and aromatic green tea grown in the mountains. Xinyang is also known as one of the areas hardest hit by the famine that accompanied Communist Party agricultural policies in the 1950s and 1960s. More recent government policy has encouraged the adult population in rural Henan to migrate to cities to look for employment.