Despite efforts to downplay the story in the face of the Shanghai Expo, news of a recent wave of copycat killings has spread quickly through China, driven in part by the surprising revelation that many of the killers have been middle-aged and apparently well-educated men. Online, some netizens have blamed the government, which in turn blames social contradictions. Writing for the Telegraph, Malcolm Moore summarizes these attacks as a "turning point" created by alienation engendered over the last twenty years of China's industrialization. Where does the truth lie?

With Kaiser Kuo out of the country, Jeremy Goldkorn of Danwei takes up hosting duties this week joined by Sinica regulars Gady Epstein, Beijing bureau chief for Forbes magazine, and China public relations expert Will Moss, whom you may know as author of the popular blog Imagethief. We also have Qin Liwen as a guest in the studio. She is a Chinese author and bookstore owner in Beijing who has written about these killings in the domestic media.

If you enjoy this podcast, be sure to give us your take on things either in the comment section, or by writing us at And remember, to subscribe to the Sinica show through RSS, just open up iTunes, click on the "Advanced" menu and select "Subscribe to Podcast". When prompted, copy the URL into the box. Those of you who'd like to download this mp3 directly from our site can also grab it as a standalone mp3 file. Enjoy!
 said on
May 15, 2010
Obviously, I made a mistake by saying there were no killing spree against kids in China. All easily forgotten, the past.,9171,832294,00.html

Monday, Nov. 29, 2004

China's School Killings

By Matthew Forney | Beijing

China's central plains city of Ruzhou is nondescript in most ways, known to the rest of the country mainly as a source of prized decorative porcelain produced during the graceful Song dynasty eight centuries ago. Last week, the city's place in the nation's consciousness acquired a stain that may take years to fade. At midnight, a 21-year-old named Yan Yanming reportedly entered the dormitory of Ruzhou's No. 2 High School and slipped into the rooms where male students slept. Yan slashed some students' throats, according to Xinhua, the state news agency. Others he stabbed in the heart. Eight died without rising. Four survived�hours later, witnesses saw the smears where their blood flowed down the school's front steps. Police caught Yan the next day after he overdosed on drugs at his parents' home. The attack left the city in shock. "People couldn't believe that their school could be so unsafe," says Cheng Honggen, a local Xinhua reporter.

The Ruzhou killings are part of a chilling rite of passage endured by modern societies all over the world. Ruzhou was the sixth in a string of deadly attacks on Chinese schoolchildren that began in August, when a schizophrenic janitor at a Beijing kindergarten stabbed 14 children, killing one, according to police. A bus driver in Shandong province was executed earlier this month for slashing 24 kids in September; last month, a teacher in Hunan province was arrested for killing four students and wounding 12; two weeks later a man in Beijing was arrested for killing a six-year-old and stuffing him into the school's washing machine. The violence stalking the land of one-child families is not confined to the lower grades. In April, a college student named Ma Jiajue hacked four classmates to death after an all-night poker game. Ma said he was "too poor to afford shoes" and killed from jealousy.

The number of murders, rapes and batteries committed by juveniles in China is growing faster than 10% a year, says criminologist Pi Yijun of the China Politics and Law University. Stunned parents and authorities are searching for reasons for the surge. Some blame greater individual freedom and the decline of authoritarian control. Others explain it as the result of epochal social change and the loss of moral ballast once supplied by communist ideology.

But criminologists also see something new. China's rapidly expanding media have included a proliferation of tabloid newspapers and reality cop shows. Just as Americans believed violent media images were partly to blame for the 1999 school massacre in Columbine, Colorado, Chinese law-enforcement specialists see a link between the recent rash of killings and the violent messages delivered by newspapers and movies. "It seems that the day after crimes appear in the media, someone will imitate it," says Kang Shuhua, director of the criminology research center at Peking University.

Kang isn't alone in asserting this connection. In the western city of Chengdu, an 18-year-old "continuously improved his skills" in murder by watching China's top-rated reality cop show, "China's No. 1 Criminal Cases," learning not to leave behind clothing fibers and to destroy murder weapons, according to the Tianfu Morning Post. In the same city, a gang of 14-year-old students mimicked the Hong Kong gangster film series Young and Dangerous by robbing people after urinating on their heads and burning them with cigarette butts, according to state-run media.

But the police may have to accept some of the blame. The Ministry of Public Security runs production studios that create some of the country's most popular reality police shows, which have been proliferating so rapidly that government censors in March barred 40% of applications for new programs based on police work. But in part because the censor�the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television�isn't powerful enough to block shows produced by the police, it had to settle for restrictions on those already on the air. The police-produced show "Zero Distance," an organized-crime expos�, is now broadcast after 11 p.m.

In other countries, similar remedies have done little to prevent sporadic school violence. Some Chinese parents appear to be taking matters into their own hands. Beijing Special Protection Security Consulting, which provides bodyguards to rich entrepreneurs, is planning later this month to expand their services to schoolchildren. They are having no problem drumming up new business, says company owner Cui Fengxian. "Our clients have been growing steadily" since the schoolyard killings began in August, he says. Bodyguards, however, can't protect kids from the violence they see on TV.

Or BBC, about the same incidents:

Man held over China school deaths

A man has been arrested in connection with the deaths of eight boys stabbed as they slept in a dormitory, Chinese officials have said.

The suspect was captured thanks to a tip-off to police from his mother after he tried to commit suicide, Chinese media reported.

Four other children were wounded in the attack at a secondary school in the city of Ruzhou, in Henan province.

There has been a series of stabbings in Chinese schools in recent months.

Police arrested Yan Yanming, 21, in Ruzhou in connection with the latest attack after his mother reported him, according to Xinhua news agency.

In the incident - the sixth in four months - a man got into the city's Number 2 High School and stabbed the victims in their beds.

A government official told AFP that those killed were all in the lower beds of bunk beds, and had been sleeping in at least three separate dormitories.

Two of the four students who survived the attack were seriously injured, local news reports said.


In September 24 children were injured in a knife attack in Shandong.


# September - man knifes 28 children in day care centre in Suzhou

# September - man knifes 24 children at school in Shandong

# August - 15 children and 3 teachers knifed in Beijing kindergarten, by man with history of mental illness. One child died

The man responsible for that attack was executed on Wednesday. The court said his actions had been "especially cruel".

The recent wave of violence in schools had already provoked public anger, reports the BBC's Louisa Lim in Beijing.

Now Chinese citizens are asking how such an attack can have happened again.

Kindergartens were ordered to overhaul their security and check the qualifications of their staff after a caretaker with a history of mental illness stabbed 15 children in August, killing one.

Worried by the violence, schools in the capital, Beijing, and other regions have begun employing professional guards to protect students, Xinhua reported.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2004/11/26 23:13:04 GMT

 said on
May 11, 2013
Liwen saying Chinese don't complain when a child cries in public because Chinese love children. It's a shame Sinica didn't call her out on that borderline racist statement because it's obviously not true.
Mark Lesson Studied