|Medical workers take an injured child to ICU at 3201 Hospital in Hanzhong City, northwest China's Shaanxi Province, May 12, 2010. At least nine were hacked to death and 11 others injured in a violent attack at a kindergarten in Shaanxi Province at about 8 a.m. Wednesday morning. The murderer has killed himself and the injured have been rushed to hospital. (Xinhua/Wu Tianchang)|
XI'AN, May 12 (Xinhua) -- A 48-year-old man killed seven children and two women with a kitchen cleaver at a kindergarten in northwest China's Shaanxi Province Wednesday, and then committed suicide, say local authorities.
The deadly rampage took place at about 8 a.m. at the privately-run kindergarten in Linchang Village, Shengshui Township of Nanzheng County, when villager Wu Huanming hacked to death seven children and the kindergarten owner, 50-year-old Wu Hongying, the Shaanxi Provincial Emergency Response Office said in a statement.
Wu Hongying's mother, 80-year-old Su Runhua, who was injured in the attack, died later in hospital.
The dead children were five boys and two girls, but their ages are yet to be released.
Eleven other children were injured, two severely. They are being treated in hospital.
Wu Huanming returned home after the killings and committed suicide, the statement said.
An initial police investigation showed that Wu Huanming had been unhappy after a property dispute with Wu Hongying.
Wu Huanming had rented out his house to Wu Hongying to accommodate the kindergarten, without approval from any government departments.
Wu Huanming demanded in April that his house should be vacated when the lease expired, but Wu Hongying said she hoped to return the property in June or July, during the kindergarten vacation.
Police are still investigating the circumstances of the case.
The kindergarten has been sealed off and police officers have been deployed there.
Zhao Leji, Communist Party of China chief of Shaanxi, ordered local authorities to do all they could to save the injured and strengthen school security in the province.
About 20 children attended the kindergarten, said the Party chief of Linchang Village surnamed Lin.
The ministries of public security and education jointly held an emergency nationwide teleconference to tell local departments to upgrade security after Wednesday's deadly attack.
Security in privately-run schools and kindergartens as well as those in remote areas and rural regions should be scrutinized, and police should conduct security sweeps in schools and other public facilities where children gathered, said a statement from the police authority.
Police forces at all levels should step up measures to deter attacks on children, it said.
State Councilor and Minister of Public Security Meng Jianzhu said at the conference that local police forces should cooperate with education authorities to more rigorously search for security risks around kindergartens and schools.
Meng asked police forces to work closely with other community security organizations for the safety of the children.
He also called for improved psychological counseling for anti-social and paranoid individuals.
Police should also talk more with the public to help resolve disputes and problems so as to reduce social conflict.
Wednesday's tragedy was the fifth such attack on children in less than two months in China. The central government had already ordered local authorities to boost school security after previous school attacks.
On May 3, Zhou Yongkang, member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, said security at schools and kindergartens was a "major political task."
He called for special care for "people in difficult situations" and urged local governments to prevent extreme events caused by exacerbated disputes.
Authorities in many cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Jinan, Lanzhou and Wuxi, have deployed more police and security guards near and at schools to prevent attacks.
About 500 kindergartens, primary and high schools in Beijing had hired more than 2,000 professional security guards to beef up security, He Gang, a police officer at the Beijing Public Security Bureau, said Wednesday.
Beijing, however, needed several thousands more security guards for its remaining 4,500 kindergartens, primary and high schools, He said.