– Chinese police told ‘shoot to kill’ to protect pupils (Times Online):
Police in a Chinese city have been given shoot-to-kill powers at schools after a series of attacks against young pupils left eight dead and dozens wounded.
The extreme measure is a sign of the nervousness across China as classes resumed after the three-day May Day holiday weekend.
China’s Ministry of Public Security issued an emergency notice at the weekend ordering tighter security at schools and kindergartens nationwide after three attacks on schools in as many days last week left nearly 50 children and several teachers injured.
China has suffered another multiple stabbing when a man went on the rampage killing eight people including his wife and daughter.
In the latest of a series of attacks that have raised concerns over the stability of Chinese society, Zhou Yezhong killed his wife and child, four neighbours and a migrant worker during the attack on Saturday evening before being arrested by police two hours later.
No motive has yet been given for the killings in the southeastern province of Jiangxi which come after five stabbing attacks in as many weeks against schoolchildren that have deeply unnerved parents in China.
The knife attacks have put China’s government under pressure to increase security at schools and have pointed up the tensions and divisions in China caused by the ending of the social security net, official corruption and rising wealth inequalities.
A week ago China suffered three school attacks on consecutive days. On April 30 a farmer armed with a hammer injured five children and a teacher at a primary school in the eastern province of Shandong before setting himself on fire.
The previous day, an unemployed man slashed 29 children and three adults at a kindergarten in the eastern city of Taixing.
That attack came a day after a 33-year-old teacher placed on sick leave for mental problems injured 15 students and a teacher in a knife attack at a primary school in southern China’s Guangdong province.
On the same day, authorities in Fujian province in the southeast announced they had executed a former doctor for stabbing to death eight children and injuring five others in a fit of rage on March 23 after he broke up with his girlfriend.
The killings sparked a wave of introspection in China’s internet chat-rooms where citizens blamed the failure of China’s justice and social security systems to address the needs of the disgruntled and disenfranchised.
Although China has historically enjoyed lower violent crime rates than in the West the opening up of society has raised the threat from individuals unable to cope with the pressures of the new Chinese society.
At least two of the attacks have been linked to mental disorders. A 2009 study estimated 173 million adults in China have some type of mental problems but less than 10 per cent of sufferers were found to have received professional help
Peter Foster in Beijing
Published: 6:03PM BST 09 May 2010
Source: The Telegraph