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China: School killings and social pathology

Categories: East Asia, China, Governance, Health, Media & Journalism, Youth

Within 5 weeks, there were 5 school killings in China. All the victims are innocent primary and kindergarten school kids, while all the murderers are also victims of social injustice. The problem of the cold-blooded murders comes from society, but again, mainstream media are told not to further investigate the cases.

Here is a summary of the 5 killing cases





March 23, Zheng Minsheng in Nanping killed 8 primary school kids
April 12, a man in Hepu killed 8 primary school kids
April 28, a man in Leizhou stabbed 8 primary school kids
April 29, a man in Taixin stabbed 32 kindergarten kids
April 30, a man in Shandong Weifang beat up 5 students and burned himself to death.

ChinaSmack has translated some immediate reaction on the killing incidents. Many believe that kids have become the victims of revenge against social injustice and criticize the killers for attacking children instead of government officials. In fact, a photo has been circulating via the internet, then via e-mail upon deletion, showing a slogan put up by parents outside a kindergarten campus. It reads: Social injustice and debts have their origin, turn right and you can find the government building.


The incidents, similar to Yang Jia's cop killing incident, have very deep social implications. As twocolds points out:

在最近的变态凶手杀人事件中,他们都选择了幼儿园和小学,相信在很多想报复社会的人心中,去幼儿园小学杀人成为了一种时尚,因为在杀人过程中,你将遇到最 少的抵抗,杀掉最多的人,造成民间最大的痛苦的恐慌,是最有效的报复社会手段。除了杨佳以外,几乎所有杀手都挑选了向弱者下手。这个社会没有出口,杀害更 弱者成了他们唯一的出口。

In the recent series pathetic killing incidents, the killers have chosen kindergartens and primary schools as their target. In the hearts of those who want to take revenge on society, killing school kids has become a fashion because they would face the least resistance, maximize the number they kill and create the greatest social panic. This is the most effective way to take revenge on society. Apart from Yang Jia, most killers have chosen the weak as their target. This society has no exit and killing the weak has turned into their only exit.

It's no wonder why the propaganda department very quickly asked news agencies and major websites to stop putting the news on the front page. Of course, there is the Shanghai expo factor as explained by Kai Pan in china/divide. However, is the government paying justice to the kids? Twocolds criticizes:

在泰州幼儿园杀人事件中,新闻被控制了,这些孩子们生不逢时,死更不逢时。在相关部门的认识里,在这喜庆的气氛里,这事当属杂音。我们只知道,泰州幼儿园 杀人事件中,受伤32人,政府和医院一再强调,无一死亡,但是坊间又传说,死了多个孩子。你说我应该相信谁呢?相信政府吧,那为什么他们禁止家长见到孩子 呢?

In the kindergarten killing of Taizhou, news was under control. All these kids were born and killed in a bad time. In the celebratory mood, their deaths become disruptive noise. All we know is that in the Taizhou kindergarten killing, 32 people were hurt. The government and the hospital stressed that no one had died but rumor said that a number of them were killed. Who should I believe? Let's believe our government, but then why they forbid the parent to see their kids?

Stan Abrams from china/divide sums up some social implications of the “revengeful act”, including mental illness, income gap and lack of control. However, Xu Zhiyong points out that the problem cannot be solved either through covering up or the strengthening of security control:

这些巨大的事件如果仅仅给我们带来社会管理技术上的修补, 我们就失去了更大社会改进的机会。这些事件,尤其是短期内连续发生一系列事件,一定具有更为深刻的社会意义,如果我们拒绝承认这种意义,该事件的结果可能 会朝着相反的方向。以个人恐怖主义五个要素来分析:社会背景——拆迁、社会保障缺失、社会不公等等,这些问题在有的人的头脑里聚集并强化;主角——个性偏 执的个人,但如果连续出现极端个体,这就说明社会问题已经相当严重;受害者——社会中最弱者,需要指出的是,一个人能够把行凶对象指向幼儿园的孩子,这需 要巨大的力量给自己内心填充“合法性”,这些力量来自社会问题的各种信息;震撼性——该事件成为一个巨大的公共事件具有内在必然的逻辑;社会整合——如果 一个社会回避巨大公共事件的深刻含义或者失去了整合的能力,该社会事实的意义可能是强化某种本已存在的失落情绪,这是悲剧中的悲剧。

If the series of incidents only lead to the strengthening of social management technique, we will miss the opportunities for social transformation. There must be deeper social meaning in the incidents, if we refuse to admit that thing would be developed in the opposite direction. If we analyze the issue according to the 5 main characteristics of terrorism: 1. The social background of the killers are those who face force eviction, social injustice and lack of social security protection. All these problems magnified in the head of those with psychological problems. 2. The perpetrators have extreme character. If such cases keep recurring, it probably implies that the society is really sick. 3. The victims are the weakest people in the society. If a person is capable of directing his anger towards kindergarten kids, he has to “justify” it with some really big problem. 4. Shock – the fact that the incidents have turned into social panic has some underlying reasons. 5. Social integration – if a society avoid facing such big incident and lose the power to interpret the incident and integrate the society, it would probably reinforce the sentiment that brings about this tragedy. It is more tragic than the tragedy.