China strengthens security in schools


Beijing : Authorities in China are strengthening security checks to prevent further assaults in schools and kindergartens after a string of violent attacks killed eight children and injured over 50.

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Schools across the country will employ professional security guards, who will be equipped with non-lethal weapons like batons, tear gas and pepper spray, while security alarms and closed circuit television cameras (CCTV) will be installed in school campuses, Yuan Guiren, minister of education, was quoted as saying by China Daily Monday.

Twenty-eight children were stabbed April 29 by a 47-year-old unemployed man, identified as Xu Yuyuan, at Zhongxin Kindergarten in Taixing city in Jiangsu province, while 16 primary school students were attacked April 28 by a mentally-unstable 33-year-old man, named Chen Kangbing at the Leicheng First Primary School in Guangdong province’s Leizhou city.

In the third consecutive attack April 30, a farmer identified as Wang Yonglai, from Shangzhuang village in Shandong province, immolated himself after viciously hitting five kindergarten children and a teacher with a hammer at a school in the province.

Wielding a hammer, Wang hit five children and struck the foot of a teacher who tried to block him. He then soaked himself in gasoline and grabbed two children in his arms before setting himself on fire at the Shangzhuang Primary School in Weifang city.

To prevent the occurrence of similar incidents in future, the Ministry of Public Security said police must work with education authorities to screen all campuses and surrounding areas for security risks. Small hotels, Internet cafes and recreational sites adjacent to schools must be subjected to intensive security checks.

The ministry also ordered security patrols in schools situated in high-risk zones. It asked police to increase monitoring of dangerous items, including knives.

A special task force with 22 university and government experts has been set up, which will investigate the incidents and explore new ways to provide emergency management, Hao Ping, vice minister of education, was quoted as saying.