Beijing, May 11 (IANS) Stress brought about by rapid social changes created tension and caused mental illness which led attackers in China stab over 60 schoolchildren in a string of knife attacks in less than two months, experts have said.
There has been five attacks against kindergarten and primary schoolchildren in China since late March, one of which caused eight deaths.
A mentally-unstable 41-year-old doctor, Zheng Minsheng, who stabbed eight schoolchildren to death in Fujian province’s Nanping Experimental Elementary School March 23, admitted in court that he ‘intentionally’ killed them. Zheng earlier said he wanted to stab more than 30 children.
Zheng had, however, asked the court to pay more attention to what prompted him to commit the crime rather than to the crime itself. He said he just wanted an ordinary life like others but failed. He felt his life was meaningless as he was not married, had been unsuccessful in relations with women, his family and in his career. He repeatedly told the judge he had been turned down by a woman and suffered unfair treatment from her wealthy family, which prompted him to carry out the attack.
In the second incident, 28 children were stabbed April 29 by a 47-year-old unemployed man at Zhongxin Kindergarten in Taixing city in Jiangsu province, while a day earlier, 16 primary school students were stabbed by a mentally-unstable 33-year-old man at the Leicheng First Primary School in Guangdong province’s Leizhou city.
In the third attack in as many days, a farmer from Shangzhuang village in Shandong province, immolated himself April 30 after viciously hitting five kindergarten children and a teacher with a hammer at a school in the province.
Joshua Miller, chair of the Social Welfare Policy and Services Sequence at Smith College, in Northampton, Massachusetts, said attacking children was a way stressed people call for attention and help.
‘The string of school attacks occur when society causes stress on people, like rapid social change, mass migrations, increasing disparities in wealth and weakening of traditions,’ Miller was quoted as saying this weekend by CNC World, Xinhua’s satellite news television channel.
‘People usually believe children are safe at school, while recent assaults violate the trust, frighten parents, and shake the heart of society,’ Miller said.
Meanwhile, Han Buxin, a research fellow with the Institute of Psychology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said the attacks reflected social conflicts.
‘People suffering from mental disorder could also attack people, but the suspects of recent cases made careful plans,’ Han said.
‘Psychological therapy could alleviate the social stress to some extent, but extending monitoring and treatment across the whole country would be unfeasible,’ he said.
According to a study done by Han, in China about three percent of the population were facing the challenge of mental disorders. ‘This number is too big for the government to handle,’ he said.
Han said people should be advised on how to release pressure, which could act as a precaution against stress-caused attacks.