Wei Jingru, one of the students injured in today's attack, is being treated at a hospital in central China's Henan Province. (Photo : Xinhua)
In an eerie counterpoint to Friday's massacre of 20 schoolchildren and 6 teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Chinese police arrested a man for slashing 22 schoolchildren with a knife on the same day.
Security guards subdued 36-year-old Min Yingjun, who entered a primary school in the village of Chengping in Henan province, pulled out a knife, and began stabbing children.
However, of the 22 victims, only nine needed to be admitted to the hospital, and only two had serious injuries, though those included severed fingers and ears. But none of the victims died, a far better outcome than the Sandy Hook shooting on the other side of the world, in which the lone shooter used two semiautomatic handguns.
China has very strict gun control laws. Handguns are banned except for hunting, and individuals must still receive permission from the government to buy one.
China does have a similar pattern of mass attacks in public, though most assailants use knives, so death tolls are often much lower.
"A local newspaper said the attacker was suffering mental illness," said National Public Radio. "This is just the latest attack targeting schoolchildren. In past cases, the attackers had held grudges against local government officials. Such attacks have been condemned and have highlighted the failure of the healthcare system to deal with psychiatric illness."
In the United States, many mass murderers are white males between the ages of 15 and 25. In China, the attackers tend to be older-middle-aged men with mental health issues, a testament to China's crumbling mental health infrastructure.
The Chinese government has often been critical of U.S. gun laws. "The United States has mighty strength in human, financial and material resources to exert effective control over violent crimes," said one report released by the government.
"However, its society is chronically suffering from violent crimes, and its citizens' lives, properties and personal security are in lack of proper protection."