Seven children attacked with axe while waiting in lunch queue at primary school in China

Incident is latest in a series of attacks on Chinese schools that have left dozens dead

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The Independent Online

Seven primary school children have been injured in the latest in a series of axe and knife attacks in China.

Two adults were also injured in the rampage at Beiguan Primary School in the city of Hanzhong on Friday.

Officials said the suspect, a 58-year-old man named locally as Lei Mingyue, struck while the children were waiting in line for lunch.

He told police he carried out the attack as “revenge on society” following two previous arrests in Beijing and Shaanxi province for theft, the Xinhua news agency reported.

Five students in year one and two in year three were among the victims, with television footage showing at least one child being carried off on a stretcher.

The disturbing attack was the latest in a series of similar incidents that started in China six years ago, and are frequently subjected to reporting restrictions in the country.

Knives or homemade explosives are commonly used because of tight restrictions on the sale and possession of firearms under Chinese law. 

Many of those incidents have occurred at schools, dating back to a series of attacks in 2010 in which nearly 20 children were killed that prompted a response from top government officials and led some schools to increase security. 

In December 2012, a man stabbed more than 20 children outside a primary school in Chenpeng, Henan province, hours before the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in the US where a gunman killed 26 children and staff.

Hanzhong, the site of Friday’s attack, was the scene of a previous massacre by a man wielding a cleaver at a nursery school in May 2010. Seven children and two adults were killed by the building’s landlord, who then took his own life.

Earlier this year, an assailant injured 10 children outside a school in the island province of Hainan before using his knife to kill himself. 

No concrete link has formed between the atrocities, which have left dozens dead, but some analysts have blamed a reported increase in mental illness sparked by rapid social change.

Additional reporting by AP