Worker leaps to his death after injuring 6
As the nation seeks to recover from the shock of a spate of school knife attacks in recent months, a chopper-wielding man chopped and wounded six women in Guangdong before leaping to his death.
The incident happened as a state-run magazine highlighted the leadership's resolve to protect the underprivileged and address social inequalities.
A 20-year-old factory worker rushed into a restaurant in Nanhai district, Foshan, at about 7pm on Sunday and chopped a waitress with a meat cleaver, China News Service reported yesterday.
He ran to a nearby market and chopped five women in the neck, shoulders and chest, the report said. Two were in serious condition last night, while the rest suffered non-life-threatening wounds.
The man then ran up to the third floor of a block of flats and leapt to his death.
According to the Guangzhou Daily, all the victims were young women. His motives were unclear.
The incident follows a string of attacks on schools in recent weeks.
Last Wednesday, a disgruntled villager from Nanzheng county, Shaanxi, went on the rampage in a privately run kindergarten, hacking to death seven children and two adults with a meat cleaver and wounding 11 children.
That attack, the sixth on children in the past two months, prompted authorities to strengthen security measures, including the deployment of police officers and security guards in kindergartens and schools.
Observers say the attacks have highlighted the lack of pressurerelease valves in a fast-changing society, where the wealth gap is one of the widest in the world. Ordinary people often lack legal channels to air their frustrations and can do little about social injustice.
The plight of the marginalised and the poor is often ignored. And when they do try to air grievances against local officials by going to Beijing to file a petition, they are often captured and/or abused by police sent to collect them and transported home before they get the chance to state their case.
Outlook Weekly magazine, operated by Xinhua, published an article at the weekend in an apparent recognition by the central government of the importance of caring for the underprivileged.
'Our work on the economy and social development needs to pay more attention to the impoverished and the underprivileged because they are the majority in society,' the magazine quoted Premier Wen Jiabao as saying during the National People's Congress this year.
The article said government policymaking think tanks were pondering the problem.
Without referring to the knife attacks, it quoted academics as saying people such as the unemployed, migrant workers and the disabled often lack platforms to air their grievances, so the government must take steps to protect their interests.
'Amid the widening income gap, we need to pay attention so that the current situation does not become institutionalised. We must care for the marginalised and the grass roots,' it quoted professor Chang Xiuze, a researcher with the National Development and Reform Commission's Academy of Microeconomic Research, as saying.
The government should work on improving social equality, the article said.
Wen said last week that the recent school attacks had laid bare deeply rooted social ills that deserved the attention of the authorities.