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China Seeks Answers to Deadly Copycat School Attacks


China has been shaken by another attack on a school by an adult, this one leaving at least seven students and two adults dead. It is the fifth violent school incident in recent weeks. The nation is struggling to seek answers for the bloodletting.

China was once more in shock, Wednesday, after the apparent unprovoked slaying of school children, hacked to death in northwestern China.

At least 20 other people are believed to be injured after Wednesday's attack in rural Hanzhong city in Shaanxi province.

The attacks began in March, when a mentally-unstable former doctor murdered eight children at a school in Fujian province.

That crime sparked further attacks across the country - mostly involving what the media described as frustrated middle-aged men welding knives.

Nearly 100 young students and teachers have been injured.

The bloodletting has left many in a society once proud of its low violent crime rate afraid, angry and confused.

The education ministry set up an emergency panel last month and beefed up security at schools and universities -- but the attacks keep happening.

Answers as to why the most innocent members of Chinese society are being targeted are being sought by worried parents and the shocking reports have sparked heated debates.

Many academics blame the widening poverty gap and mounting frustrations among those seeking justice for a variety of issues, via the country's notoriously corrupt and unfair legal system.

Professor Hu Xingdou, from the College of Humanities at the Beijing Institute of Technology, is among those who claim the violence is being carried out by desperate citizens seeking payback.

He says the attacks are a new phenomena dubbed "social revenge".

Professor Hu says Chinese society does not offer proper places and channels for people -- especially those at the bottom end of the social spectrum - to discuss and vent their anger at everyday frustrations.

He says the attackers know they cannot touch the powerful above them and get proper redress, so they take revenge by targeting the weakest members of society.

He says such attacks are copycats incidents and are likely to increase as the wealth gap continues to widen.

Aware the attacks are fermenting public anger and aware demands for better protection and a crack down on such heinous crimes are increasing, the government has now ordered the media to not report the attacks in detail.

Indeed, some blame the media for reporting such incidents at all - claiming it gives copycat ideas to potential attackers.

But professor Hu is among those who say it is up to the government to address inequality and improve civil rights, if it wants to stop the violence.

Professor Hu says proper reform of the legal and local political system will create channels for people to express and address their concerns, instead of letting their frustration build into a deadly sense of injustice.

Still, solutions are unlikely to come soon and Chinese parents are wary.

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