[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific
China tightens school security
Officials order armed patrols in some schools following wave of attacks on children.
Last Modified: 01 May 2010 06:36 GMT
Police in some cities have been training teachers how to tackle potential attackers [AFP]

Schools across China have been ordered to step up security measures after a series of bloody attacks on children and teachers in recent days.

As part of the increased security, armed police were to begin patrolling schools in Beijing after the May Day holiday, officials said.

On Saturday, the state-run Xinhua news agency quoted Hao Ping, China's education vice-minister, as saying that authorities faced a "heavy task" with 270 million students in schools across China.

Hao said the government was setting up a 22-member expert team to focus on "public incidents" in the education system, according to Xinhua.

The crackdown follows an attack on Friday in the city of Weifang in which a farmer broke into a school, attacking children and a teacher with a hammer before setting himself on fire and burning himself to death.

Friday's attack was the third such incident in three days, and the fifth in the space of just over a month.

Pupils wounded

On Wednesday, a 33-year-old former teacher broke into a primary school in the southern city of Leizhou, wounding 15 pupils and a teacher with a knife.

The attacker had reportedly been on sick leave from another school since 2006 for mental health problems.

A day later, a 47-year-old unemployed man armed with a 20-centimetre knife wounded 29 young children, as well as two teachers and a security guard at a school in the eastern city of Taixing.

Five of the injured children were reported to be in a serious condition in hospital.

Parents of children at the Taixing school have been protesting outside a city hospital demanding better security measures in response to the attacks.

The attacks have been given little coverage in Chinese state media, in what observers say may reflect a desire to avoid further copy cat attacks, or to avoid overshadowing blanket coverage of the opening of the showpiece Shanghai Expo, a pet government project.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
Anti-government secrecy organisation struggling for relevance without Julian Assange at the helm.
After decades of overfishing, Japan is taking aim at increasing the number of bluefin tuna in the ocean.
Chinese scientists are designing a particle-smashing collider so massive it could encircle a city.
Critics say the government is going full-steam ahead on economic recovery at the expense of human rights.
Spirits are high in Scotland's 'Whisky Capital of the World' with one distillery thirsty for independence.