Woman Stabs Children in Kindergarten Rampage Injuring Multiple Students

In this file photo, police officers work at the scene where two boys were killed outside an elementary school in Shanghai, China, on June 28, 2018. Knife attacks on schools have become common in recent years. AFP/Getty Images

At least 14 children have been injured at their school in southwestern China after a woman launched a knife attack on kindergarten students.

Police have said a 39-year-old woman—whose surname was given as Liu—used a kitchen knife to target the school in the city of Chongqing. The motive for the attack is unclear, though the BBC suggested that reports on social media indicated the woman harbored grievances against the government.

A statement issued by the Chongqing police said the incident occurred at around 9:30 a.m. local time Friday as the children were returning to lessons after morning exercise. Liu was arrested at the scene, police said.

Videos posted to social media showed injured children being led out of the school, some apparently with injuries to their faces. All were sent to nearby hospitals for treatment but there is no information on their condition.

Police denied reports that two students had died, urging social media users to avoid spreading rumors and rely only on official channels of information.

The attacker was subdued by school security and other members of staff, CNN reported. Other footage showed Liu—wearing a red top—surrounded by police as bystanders kicked, punched and shouted at her.

CNN also reported that large crowds of angry residents gathered at the scene in the aftermath of the attack as police began their investigation.

This is the latest in a string of knife attacks on Chinese schools in recent years. For the most part they have been launched by individuals holding some kind of grievance against local officials, individuals or the schools more generally. Unlike in the U.S., China has tight gun control laws meaning would-be attackers usually resort to knives instead.

Last month, a man who killed nine children in a school stabbing spree was executed by firing squad. Zhao Zewei, 28, attacked his former school in the northwestern province of Shaanxi in April, having long held a grudge against the institution where he was bullied as a child.

Zhao armed himself with three knives and waited outside the school gates at the end of the day. As students emerged to head home, he rushed at them and began his assault. In addition to those killed, another 12 were wounded.

In another attack in 2017, a 41-year-old man scaled the wall of a kindergarten in the southern province of Guangxi before stabbing 11 students. None of the children sustained life-threatening injuries.

Chinese authorities were forced to introduce tighter security measures in 2010 after a spate of knife attacks on schools within a month. Strangers were banned from campuses and long metal poles were distributed to security staff to hold attackers back. Citizens were also required to register with the government when buying large knives.