In the latest in a string of attacks on schoolchildren in China, six primary school students and a woman were injured on their way home from school by a man wielding a cleaver, according to Chinese authorities. All seven victims were in stable condition, said a spokeswoman from the Maoming city government in the southern province of Guangdong.
Police said they recovered the cleaver used in the attack and detained the alleged attacker -- described as a mentally ill 32-year-old man identified by the last name Liao -- about 10 hours after the incident on Tuesday afternoon in a village just outside the city, the Associated Press reports.
In recent years, China has seen a string of sometimes deadly attacks on schoolchildren, which have been blamed on a lack of resources for the mentally ill and an increase in socioeconomic pressures. Kitchen knives are used in most of the attacks since the private ownership of firearms is illegal in China.
To address the problem of violent attacks on schoolchildren, some local governments have introduced protocols aimed at providing more protection. For instance, after a knife attack near an elementary school left two dead and 11 injured at a southern Shanghai elementary school, the city’s education authorities announced that they would beef up security by locking entrance doors and blocking any guest entrance while students are inside. In addition, guards are reported to be better equipped to subdue potential attackers. According to the People’s Daily, security guards stationed near schools were given pepper spray, protective helmets and rubber clubs.
In the worst recent attack, a mentally ill man in December went on a stabbing spree outside of a school in Henan province, injuring 23 students and one adult.