At least six children and a teacher were hacked to death and 20 injured Wednesday in yet another kindergarten attack in China, this time in the northwestern province of Shaanxi, state-run media reported.
The latest in a series of such attacks took place about 8 a.m. in Nanzheng, a county of Hanzhong city in southwestern Shaanxi, Xinhua News Agency said, citing local officials.
An earlier report had said seven children were killed, but Xinhua clarified that by saying one of the seven dead was a teacher.
The news agency said the attacker killed himself after the attacks.
The motive for the attacks was not immediately known.
China has seen a spate of violent rampages in recent months, with the latest being the fifth attack inside kindergartens and primary schools since March that have killed or injured dozens of children.
Three of these attacks took place within a span of three days in April, raising concerns that media publicity could be leading to “copycat” attacks.
In their wake, security in schools across the country has been stepped up with many institutions installing security cameras on their premises and hiring additional security guards.
The attacks have drawn the attention of senior Chinese officials, who said ensuring school security is a “major political task.”
The Ministry of Public Security earlier this month issued an emergency circular ordering all necessary measures to be taken against school attackers.
Recent days have also seen a spate of violent attacks carried out on women and children.
Last Saturday, a 36-year-old man stabbed eight people to death in southeastern China’s Jiangxi Province, including his mother, wife, 10- year-old daughter and four neighbors, state media reported.
On Monday, a 35-year-old man in Shaanxi reportedly killed two women and injured seven other people, including an 18-month-old toddler, in a stabbing rampage.
On Tuesday, a 37-year-old man was killed by crowds after he hacked to death with a knife a three-year-old girl and two women in the southern coastal region of Guangxi.
The state of attacks have led to national soul-searching over the root causes, and many speculate that increased social inequality and a lack of proper channels for ordinary Chinese to address grievances could be behind the violence.
Others have cited a lack of attention for the mentally ill in the country as another possible reason.
Han Buxin, a research fellow with the Institute of Psychology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said the attacks reflect stress and social conflicts that cannot be ignored, a China Daily report said Tuesday.
Hinting at this, senior Chinese official Zhou Yongkang, at a recent meeting on maintaining stability, urged government officials to keep in close contact with local communities, get to know public opinions and solve complaints.