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6 are killed in stabbing at kindergarten in China

A series of knife attacks targeting children, one of them Monday in Guangdong province, have raised public concerns about school safety and mental health.

HONG KONG — Six people were killed and one person was injured Monday in a knife attack at a kindergarten in southern China.

A 25-year-old man surnamed Wu was arrested on suspicion of carrying out an “intentional attack” in Lianjiang county in the province of Guangdong, local police said in a statement. The attack happened around 7:40 a.m. local time (7:40 p.m. ET).

The victims included three students, two parents and a teacher, Agence France-Presse reported, citing a spokeswoman for the city government. A spokesman for the Lianjiang police told AFP the attack was a stabbing.

The municipal education bureau told NBC News that the attack was still under investigation. The local police bureau declined to comment, and calls to the local publicity department went answered.

China Kindergarten Stabbing
Police respond to a stabbing at a kindergarten in southern China on Monday. Reuters

Violent crime is rare in China, which has strict gun laws. But a series of knife attacks targeting children in recent years have raised public concerns about school safety and prompted government pledges to take action.

The attack Monday was the top-trending discussion on Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter, where it had been viewed over 400 million times by the afternoon.

“Why do similar cases keep happening in China?” a post read.

In August, a 48-year-old man killed three people and wounded six others at a kindergarten in the southern province of Jiangxi.

In April 2021, a man with a knife attacked a kindergarten in the southern region of Guangxi, killing two children and injuring 16 other students and teachers.

In June 2020, a knife-wielding security guard wounded 39 people, almost all of them students, at the elementary school in Guangxi where he worked.

In November 2019, a man scaled the wall of a kindergarten in the southwestern province of Yunnan and attacked it with sodium hydroxide, leaving more than 50 children with burn injuries.

In October 2018, a 39-year-old woman injured 14 children with a kitchen knife at a kindergarten in the southwestern city of Chongqing.

Chinese authorities have stepped up security at schools since a series of attacks in 2010.

Wen Jiabao, China’s premier at the time, told state media that the government would not only strengthen security but also address the root causes of the attacks.

The attacks, which are often found to have been carried out by people with mental health issues, have also set off discussions about mental health in China, where people often face barriers to accessing care in part because of social stigma.