The Zibo Kindergarten Attack

The questions: Who said what to whom when?  Alternately, did anyone do any original investigating or are they just passing rumors back and forth?

(My China My Home)  August 4, 2010.

(in translation)

There has been a knife slashing attempt in China again.  This murder case that took place inside a kindergarten in Zibo city, Shandong province is being reportedly mainly through non-official channels inside China and overseas media.  The general opinion is that the official media are not reporting because they want to avoid the copycat effect.  It remains to be seen whether this approach is effective in practice.

Associated Press, Agence France Presse, New York Times, BBC, Sing Tao (Hong Kong) and other overseas and Hong Kong/Macau have widely reported on this case of teachers and children being attacked in a kindergarten in Zibo city, Shandong province on August 4.  An unidentified man entered the Boshan District Experimental Kindergarden in Zibo (Shandong) at around 4pm on August 3.  At the time, parents were picking up their children.  The man used a knife to kill and injure many teachers and students.

There are different casualty numbers being reported.  Agence France Presse reported at least three dead children, three injured children and three injured teacher; New York Times reported four dead children and about 20 injured; Associated Press reported four deaths (including one teacher).  Sing Tao (Hong Kong) quoted a netizen who said five deaths (three teachers and two children) plus 12 injured (and one of the dead teachers is the vice-principal of the kindergarten).

According to unconfirmed information, the 27-year-old knife wielder has turned himself in.  Other information has it that the knife wielder fled the scene.

VOA called the Zibo city government to ask about the case.  The person on the phone said tersely: "There is nothing to say about this matter.  There is nothing to tell you about this case."

The reporter then asked whether the city government intends to hold a press conference about the case.  Before the reporter even finished asking, the government official hung up the telephone.  According to information, the top leaders of Shandong province is at the scene of the incident right now.

Other kindergartens in Zibo city seemed to have been told about this incident.

One teacher at the Tongli Kindergarten told VOA: "We are unclear about this case."

Reporter: "You don't know how many children died, right?"

Teacher: "Yes, we are unclear about this case."

Reporter: "Has the case impacted you?"

Teacher: "All kindergartens are enhancing their security procedures.  Security procedures have to be enhanced."

There is no reporting on Wednesday about this major incident in the official Chinese media, including Xinhua's Shandong local news channel.  This incident is being exposed almost exclusively through non-official channels.  Associated Press said that the situation may indicated that all official media editors have been told to avoid this sensitive topic.  The Associated Press reporter has clearly interviewed the Zibo city government and got the answer: "No comment."

On Baidu search, there are many news headlines for the Zibo Experimental Kindergarten bloodshed.  But those links only lead to the message: "The topic does not exist; or it has been deleted; or it is being reviewed."

Overseas media and Hong Kong/Macau media all mention that the Zibo incident is the latest of a series of kindergarten mass murders this year in China.

Some netizens say that criminologists believe that crimes have strong social imitation/copycat effects.  The Chinese authorities are therefore concerned that inaccurate reporting and media sensationalism would cause even more negative effects.  They are blocking information in order to prevent more occurrences.  But many netizens believe that if people want to make up rumors, then the government cannot eliminate it by deleting Internet comments alone. 

(SAPA-DPA)  Another knife attack in China kills four kids   August 4, 2010.

At least four children died and 12 others were stabbed in an attack at a kindergarten in eastern China's Shandong province, reports said on Wednesday. The attacker, who was armed with a knife, burst into the unnamed kindergarten in Shandong's Zibo city Tuesday afternoon, the Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy quoted a local police official as saying. The attacker later surrendered to police, Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao reported.

(Associated Press)  China reels from kindy attack   Christopher Bodeen.  August 5, 2010.

Chinese police have detained a self-employed man for allegedly killing three kindergarten children in Zibo city, Shandong province, Xinhua News Agency reported.

Fang Jiantang, 26, was detained within hours of the knife attack and admitted he was responsible, the report said. He entered the school, in the Shandong province, about 4pm on Tuesday as parents were picking up their children, said people living nearby. About 20 children and staff were also injured, two of the children seriously. The attacker gained entry to the school by posing as a parent.

Police rushed to the kindergarten soon after the attack and officers took some injured children to hospital before ambulances arrived. The attacker surrendered to police.


''Placing police in each school and kindergarten isn't sustainable - no country in the world has that kind of manpower,'' said Willy Lam, adjunct professor of history at the Chinese University in Hong Kong. ''If the government doesn't provide channels to allow those who feel they've been treated unfairly to be heard or fight for their rights, we'll see more terrible and unfortunate cases like this.''

(CNN)  Group: Four dead in China kindergarten attack (with video).  John Vause.  August 4, 2010.

Another knife attack reportedly occurred at a kindergarten in China, according to a Chinese rights group. There was no mention of the attack in Chinese national state media and government officials did not return repeated calls about the incident.

The incident was mentioned in one local media outlet and bloggers in China were buzzing about it. But many blog posts about the incident were taken off the internet shortly after they were posted.

China Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy said four children were killed and 12 were wounded when a man went on a knife slashing spree at a kindergarten in the city of Zibo. The incident occurred on Tuesday afternoon, the rights organization.

If this attack occurred, it would be one of at least five knife or cleaver attacks on school children in China since March.

(The Australian)  Kids, teacher stabbed to death.  August 5, 2010.

ZIBO, CHINA: Three children and a teacher have been stabbed to death, with more a than a dozen people injured, in the latest Chinese school attack. It is the first fatal school attack since May 12, the last of string of nine such incidents that have triggered fears over dissatisfaction among ordinary Chinese people. Yesterday's killings occurred at a kindergarten in Zibo, Shandong province, east of Beijing.

Authorities have responded with increased security at schools -- primary and secondary schools are closed for holidays until September. Media coverage has been limited to prevent copycat attacks. A woman who works in a restaurant opposite the Boshan District Experimental Kindergarten's Jinfengyuan branch said the attacker was a man aged 27 or 28 who posed as a parent.

The incident came just two days after a man in northern Hebei province used his earthmover to smash vehicles and buildings, leaving 17 dead. The killings have been blamed on China's poor services for dealing with mental illnesses and increased stress as the country booms.

(Sky News)  'Man Held' As Kids Die In School Stabbings   Tom Bonnett.  August 4, 2010.

A man has been arrested after three children were stabbed to death in an attack at a nursery school in China, state media said. The suspect, identified as Fang Jiantang, has reportedly confessed to the rampage in the eastern city of Zibo in Shandong province.

Police have recovered the 2ft-long knife that Fang, 26, said he had used in the killings, the Xinhua news agency said. His motive was not immediately known and officers were investigating the incident.

Three children died at the scene while three other youngsters and four teachers were injured and taken to hospital, a report said. Two of the teachers were in a serious condition. Parents were picking up their children as a knifeman began his assault.

A woman who worked in a restaurant opposite the Boshan District Experimental Kindergarten's Jinfengyuan branch said the attacker had pretended to be a parent. Police officers rushed some of the injured children to hospital before ambulances had time to arrive, said the woman.

(Agence France Presse)  At least three dead in knife attack on China school.  By Marianne Barriaux.  August 4, 2010.

A man wielding a huge knife killed at least three children in a kindergarten in eastern China, state media said Wednesday, in the latest in a wave of deadly school attacks that have alarmed the nation. The assault occurred on Tuesday in the eastern province of Shandong in Zibo city, the state Xinhua news agency reported, confirming earlier accounts given by local residents.

The alleged assailant, 26-year-old Fang Jiantang, was taken into custody shortly after the attack and has confessed to his crime, Xinhua said, citing a statement from the Zibo city government. Three children died at the scene, while three others and four teachers were injured and taken to hospital, the report said. Two of the teachers were in a serious condition. Police have recovered the 60-centimetre-long (two-foot-long) knife that Fang said he had used in the kindergarten rampage, Xinhua said. His motive was not immediately known and police were still investigating.

"Around six or seven ambulances and many policemen came, the road to the kindergarten was blocked, and the parents were not allowed to enter," a woman who gave her name as Zhang and lives opposite the kindergarten told AFP. Both Zhang and an employee at another kindergarten in the same district, who gave his name as Wang, told AFP that three children had died in the attack.

Repeated calls to the local hospital, police and government about the incident either went unanswered or officials refused to comment. Another Zibo resident, a kindergarten owner who refused to be named, said that kindergartens throughout the city had been asked to close for one month as of Thursday.

(Los Angeles Times)  Four killed in attack on kindergarteners in China   Lily Kuo.   August 4, 2010.

The brutal killing of at least three children and a teacher at a school in northeastern China had residents confounded and authorities tight-lipped on Wednesday.

A man identified by state media as Fang Jiantang, 26, reportedly attacked kindergarten students and teachers with a knife Tuesday in a suburb of Zibo, killing four and injuring 20 staff and children. The man turned himself in to police, according to Singtao Daily, a Hong Kong newspaper. A 2-foot-long knife believed to be the weapon used in the attack was recovered. No motive has been established.

Teachers suffered deep gashes to their heads and shoulders, witnesses said. The wounded teachers were reportedly attempting to protect the children. Some said the injured students looked as if their skulls had been hacked open and that other children had hidden under desks to escape the assailant.


According to some reports, the assault Tuesday at the Boshan District Experimental Kindergarten's Jinfengyuan branch occurred when security guards were on break. The primary school is considered to be the best in the area, attended by several children of local officials.

"This was to be expected. Increased security can't solve everything," said Ni Jianping, a professor at the Shanghai Institute of American Studies who has been following the attacks. As in the past cases, experts and residents alike asked what causes these violent outbursts and why they are directed at children. "A person commits these kinds of crimes for one of two motives: either to attract public attention or to exact revenge," Ni said. Targeting children "is definitely a form of revenge from the individual, directed at society."

One Chinese Internet user comment on a forum: "Why are these criminals going after kids again? They are shameless!" Some blame the attacks on deeper societal problems such as a lack of attention to mental health, an increasing income gap or the everyday stress of living in rapidly developing areas.

One problem, Ni said, is that local officials do not resolve conflicts among residents. An attack on May 13 that left nine dead arose out of a dispute between the assailant and the headmaster of the school over building rent.

(Washington Post)  Man kills 3 children, 1 teacher in latest in series of Chinese school attacks    Keith B. Richburg.  August 4, 2010.

A knife-wielding man rampaged through a kindergarten in the eastern city of Zibo on Tuesday, killing three children and a teacher, and wounding a dozen others in the latest in a string of a strikingly similar attacks that have left about 20 people dead, parents on edge and the country grappling for answers.

The seemingly random attacks have raised questions about the state of mental health treatment in China, and the dislocation caused by two decades of explosive economic growth and dynamic change that has left many bypassed on society's margins.

The latest attack -- the sixth since March -- followed the now-familiar pattern; the assailant, identified as a man in his 20s, had no immediately known connection to the kindergarten. He apparently mingled with parents waiting to pick up their children about 4 p.m. before he began slashing victims with a two-foot-long knife.

Some reports said the man fled the scene but later turned himself in to police. In a brief dispatch, Xinhua, the official state news agency, identified the attacker as Fang Jiantang, 26. A local lawyer who lives in Zibo, in Shangdong province, said the man was unemployed and lived about 100 yards from where the attack occurred.

According to Zibo residents reached by telephone, the attack occurred at the Boshan District Experimental Kindergarten in the Golden Phoenix Compound, a facility for government workers. A teacher at a nearby kindergarten said the school that was attacked had 40 to 50 students attending, most of them the children of local civil service workers.

Immediately after the attack, the government, in a stated effort to head off copycat attacks, imposed a news blackout, with few details filtering out through media sources. The local police, government offices and the hospital in Zibo all refused to give any details.

News of the Tuesday attack only came out Wednesday, nearly 24 hours after the fact. Chinese media Web sites during the day carried prominently displayed stories about a workplace shooting in Connecticut that left nine people dead, but not a word on the latest kindergarten attack here in China.

Even residents of Zibo said they had difficulty finding out what happened. "News about the kindergarten is blocked," said a teacher from a nearby kindergarten. "Last night, the local news didn't cover the accident. This morning, the head of our kindergarten had a meeting in the city to discuss enhanced security. But no other news was released.

"I would be lying if I said I'm not panicked," she said. "I worry a lot in my heart. But we have two full-time security guards and two part-time security guards. Besides that, our kindergarten has already installed advanced alarming system and cameras. We have three locked gates to cross to enter our kindergarten."

The director of the nearby Golden Key Kindergarten, in the same district as the school that was attacked, said, "The tragedy happened so suddenly. Parents are scared. More than 100 kids in our kindergarten didn't come today. Their parents dare not to put their kids in kindergarten now."

A local primary school in Zibo posted a notice Wednesday saying all parents had to come into the classroom to pick up their children, according to a local hairdresser whose child attends the school.


The school attacks have become an embarrassment for China's ruling Communist Party, led by President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao, who have made "social harmony" and stability the catchphrase of their tenure. Hu and Wen have guided China through expansive economic growth, and placed China on the global stage with large-scale events like the 2008 Olympics and this year's World Expo in Shanghai. But the ongoing spate of apparently random school killings has shown that despite the progress, something in China is seriously askew.

Some experts have blamed the mental health system, which is still rudimentary here. China lacks trained psychiatrists, psychologists and mental hospitals, and mental illness carries a social stigma. Most people with mental illness simply go untreated. Others said the killings pointed to a problem of people feeling resentment toward society, because of perceived economic unfairness or the pressure of authoritarian control, and they are responding by lashing out, often at innocent victims.

Ma Ai, a professor of criminal psychology at the China University of Politics and Law, called these attacks, and other random incidents against adults that go largely unnoticed, "the inevitable result of rapid social change in China." "It's a matter of how to express their dissatisfaction," Ma said. "It's easier to draw attention by attacking kids."

"In the past 30 years of opening and reform, China attached more importance to economic development and ignored fairness in society," Ma said. "When people feel they are treated unfairly, they fight for themselves, no matter in which way." Ma also said that in recent years, the government has become more heavy-handed in maintaining "stability" and security, and violence can be a backlash. "The authorities took simple measures to keep the stability, like suppressing people," he said. "But in terms of social psychology, when people feel pressure, they will push back against the pressure being imposed on them."

(New York Times)  4 Believed Dead in China School Attack   Michael Wines.  August 4, 2010.

Three children and at least one teacher were reported on Wednesday to have died in an afternoon knife attack a day earlier at a kindergarten in eastern China, the sixth in a string of school assaults this year that has stunned the nation and sent government officials scrambling to suppress public outrage.

The latest attack, in the city of Zibo in Shandong Province, also was reported to have injured 11 other people, including two seriously wounded children, according to accounts of the attack on Chinese Web sites. Police officers were said to be uncertain of the number of attackers, but one, described as a 27-year-old man, was reported to have turned himself in.

Details of the incident were sparse and sometimes conflicting. But postings on one blog stated that the kindergarten, said to be in one of Zibo¡¦s most affluent communities, was limited to the children of local government officials. That was later confirmed by Li Heping, a noted lawyer and defender of human-rights activists in Beijing, who said in a telephone interview that he had been in touch with a friend in Zibo.

As occurred after other recent knifings, the government swiftly slapped a news blackout on the case, blocking all accounts of the attacks on the Internet and banning all photographs of the bloodshed.

Since March 23, when a man fatally stabbed eight children outside a Fujian Province elementary school, at least 18 children ¡X all of kindergarten or primary-school age ¡X and 5 adults have died in the bizarre series of attacks. Including preliminary reports from Tuesday¡¦s assault, at least 66 other children have been wounded, including 5 who were clubbed with a hammer by a man on April 30.

Most of the assaults have occurred along China¡¦s urbanized east coast, where wealth disparities are most visible and social pressures presumably at their peak. The government convened a panel of 22 experts in April to investigate the attacks, and schools across China have installed surveillance cameras and stepped up security.

A subtext to some of the attacks appears to have been resentment of the rich or powerful. The first attacker confessed that he acted in fury after being rejected by his girlfriend¡¦s wealthy parents, and targeted a primary school that was attended mostly by children of the well-off.

But analysts have yet to find a coherent theme to the assaults, aside from speculation by criminologists and sociologists that some are so-called copycat attacks and that they highlight the lack of adequate mental-health care in a nation where psychiatrists are rare and mental hospitals are often warehouses for the sick.

State-run media reacted to the first attack last March with anger, grief and a series of articles that sought to explain what could motivate such a horrific crime. But as the attacks continued, censors clamped down on news coverage and played up state efforts to combat violence and social upheaval.

The assault on Tuesday was not reported until Wednesday morning Beijing time, and most traces of news reports had been expunged from the Internet by mid-afternoon. Various officials in Zibo, a city of about 670,000 some 230 miles south of Beijing, declined to comment or said they did not know about the attack when reached by telephone.

Reports of the Zibo attacks offered varying tolls of the dead, the injured and the number of assailants. The attack apparently took place about 4 p.m. Tuesday when, as security guards at were on a break, up to three men entered the suburban Boshan district experimental kindergarten and stabbed two teachers, then turned on the children.

Internet accounts said the school¡¦s deputy director died, and some reports said that as many as 20 people had been slashed before the attacker or attackers fled. Two teachers who sought to shield the children from the assault were reported to be among those who were seriously wounded.

(Telegraph)  Three children killed in attack on Chinese kindergarten     Peter Foster.  August 4, 2010.

The school attack ¡V the eighth this year ¡V took place at 4pm Tuesday afternoon when an unnamed man in his late twenties entered the kindergarten in the city of Zibo in Shandong province posing as a parent, according to reports from residents.  Up to 20 children and staff were injured in the attack, two of them seriously, with one teacher succumbing to her injuries on Wednesday morning.

Local officials and police declined to comment when contacted by The Telegraph, however a woman working in a restaurant opposite the Boshan District Experimental Kindergarten's Jinfengyuan branch said ambulances had rushed to the school. "The kindergarten has been sealed off until now. There are still police officers there," the woman, who gave only her surname as Zhang told the Associated Press.

An employee in the emergency room of the local hospital told The Telegraph that four teachers and four children were admitted after the attack, all with serious injuries and were immediately taken into surgery. Their current condition was unknown.

(Associated Press)  China mostly silent on latest school attack; 4 die    August 4, 2010.

A man wielding a knife killed three children and a teacher in a kindergarten in eastern China, residents said Wednesday as the government muted information in a bid to allay public fears and forestall more school attacks.

The delay in releasing information by officials and state media is part of a government attempt to discourage copycat killers and assuage fears over a series of school attacks this year that have caused dozens of deaths and wounded scores. Online postings about the attack were deleted by midafternoon Wednesday by government censors who police the Internet for material considered politically sensitive.

The assailant entered the Boshan District Experimental Kindergarten's Jinfengyuan branch in a suburb of Zibo in Shandong province at about 4 p.m. Tuesday as parents were picking up their children, according to people living nearby contacted by telephone. About 20 children and staff members were wounded, two of the children seriously, they said.

In state media's only mention of the attack, Xinhua News Agency issued a short report late Wednesday, citing a city government statement that said police had detained a 26-year-old man on suspicion of killing at least three children. Self-employed Fang Jiantang admitted committing the attack with a 24-inch (60 centimeter) knife, but his motive was unknown, Xinhua said. In Tuesday's attack, Xinhua reported three children died at the scene, and three others and four teachers were taken to hospital. Two teachers were in serious condition, it said.

Earlier, the head of the Zibo government propaganda department's news office, who gave just his surname, Bi, would say only that there had been "very few deaths and injuries." "The country has a regulation about reporting on these sorts of reports. There's a worry that they might inspire copycat crimes creating a negative impact, so therefore, we are not issuing a report," Bi told The Associated Press by phone.

A woman who works in a restaurant opposite the kindergarten said the attacker was a man aged 27 or 28 who posed as a parent to enter the school. Police rushed to the kindergarten soon after the attack and officers transported some wounded children to a hospital before ambulances had time to arrive, said the woman, who would give only her surname, Zhang. "The kindergarten has been sealed off," Zhang said. "There are still police officers there." Zhang and other area residents said the teacher died of her injuries Wednesday morning.

(Xinhua)  Man detained after three die in E China kindergarten attack   August 4, 2010.

Police have detained a man who allegedly killed at least three children in a kindergarten knife attack Tuesday in east China's Zibo City, Shandong Province, said a statement from the city government Wednesday.

Fang Jiantang, 26, self-employed, who was detained within hours of the attack, had admitted to police that he was responsible, said the statement.

Three children died at the scene, while three other children and four teachers were injured and taken to hospital, it said. The conditions of two teachers were described as serious and the others were all stable, the statement said.

Fang said he had used a 60-centimeter long knife in the attack and police had found the murder weapon, said the statement.

The motive of the attack was not immediately known. The investigation is continuing.

The following is supposed to be the sole Chinese local media report.

(  August 4, 2010.

(in translation)

According to <Xinxiangbao>, at around 4pm on August 3, an evildoer entered a kindergarten in Boshan district, Zibo city, Shandong province with a knife and slashed the teachers and children.  Many children as well as the kindergarten principal are dead.  More than 20 persons were injured.

<Xinxiangbao> learned from the kindergarten parents that when they saw the children being taken out, the flesh from the faces were almost complete hacked out.  It was an awful sight.  Those parents who picked up their unharmed children were in tears.  Some parents stood in the street to curse the evildoer with barely restrained emotions.

According to a person who was at the scene at the time, the scene has been sealed off now with the police maintaining order.  Most of the kindergarten children are still inside.  There are about 100 spectators.  Some parents are very upset because they haven't seen their children yet.

After the attack took place, the local government departments have arrived at the scene.  Shandong Communist Party Secretary Jiang Yikang arrived at the scene in the evening.  The case is being investigated right now.

According to Sing Tao (Hong Kong), the incident took place at the Zibo Experimental Kindergarden in Zishan district.  Three men (although some netizens said that there was one man) slahed two teachers and then proceed to hack at the children.  One child even had the head sliced into two with blood pouring down like a river.

Sing Tao cited informed sources who say that the security personnel in Zibo kindergarten was shorthanded due to budgetary reasons.  Every day the security guards take lunch between 3pm and 4pm.  There was no security guard present when the attack began.  Accordeing to information, the attackers fled the scene.  According to a police officer at the scene, a 27-year-old local man has turned himself in.