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The Zibo Kindergarten Attack
Classification: Mass murderer
Characteristics: Kindergarten attack - No motive has been established
Number of victims: 4
Date of murder: August 3, 2010
Date of arrest: Same day
Date of birth: 1984
Victim profile: Three children and a teacher
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife
Location: Zibo city, Shandong province, China
Status: Unknown. Probably executed

August 3, 2010 - Zibo, China – Fang Jiantang – 4 Dead – 7 Injured

On 3 August 2010, 26-year-old Fang Jiantang (方建堂) slashed more than 20 children and staff with a 60cm knife, killing 3 children and 1 teacher, at a kindergarten in Zibo, Shandong province. Of the injured, 3 other children and 4 teachers were taken to the hospital. After being caught Fang confessed to the crime; his motive is not yet known


Man kills 3 children, 1 teacher in latest in series of Chinese school attacks

By Keith B. Richburg - The Washington Post

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."


4 Believed Dead in China School Attack

By Michael Wines - The New York Times

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 — all of kindergarten or primary-school age — 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.



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