CRIME

Six officials sacked over primary school knife attack in Henan

The employees were punished after public outrage at lax security that allowed the attacker to enter the premises and rampage for so long

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 December, 2012, 3:18am

Six government employees have been punished for last Friday's attack on a primary school in Henan by a knife-wielding man who injured 23 pupils.

Members of the public had been asking why there was no security at the Chenpeng village primary school, in Guangshan county, and how the suspect could have rampaged through it for so long before being subdued.

The county's Communist Party committee said it had decided on Monday to fire two school heads, the chief of a police station in the town of Wenshu, two senior county education officials and another security official in Wenshu.

Meanwhile, the editorial committee of the Xinyang city government's mouthpiece newspaper posted a written apology on the city's news portal after the Xinyang Daily was inundated with criticism for running a front-page report on Monday praising Guangshan county's education department. Guangshan is under Xinyang's administration.

The editorial committee said the story was published because the journalists involved were unprofessional and not diligent.

"That report has hurt the victims and their families and has misled public opinion," it said. "It has hurt the feelings of internet users and our readers, too. We feel sincerely sorry and will reflect on this serious mistake."

Media in Xinyang had been prevented from reporting on the school attack because of a gag order issued by the local authorities, xinhuanet.com reported.

A teacher from the school said staff had been told not to accept requests for media interviews, the Changjiang Daily reported.

One woman said her seven-year-old granddaughter, who escaped the knifeman by hiding under a table, now feared being left alone and had nightmares in which she was pursued and slashed.

The Communist Party mouthpiece People's Daily quoted county director Wang Zhixue as saying that the local media blackout had been imposed because the case involved children and because of fears that reporting the details could encourage copycat attacks.

"It's not appropriate to publish details of the case at the initial stage of investigation," he said.

The man suspected of carrying out the attack, Min Yongjun, told police that a 61-year-old woman, Jin Guozhu, had told him "doomsday" was approaching.

Police found that Jin had told villagers that the earth would explode and Guangshan would be levelled, People's Daily reported.

It said dozens of booklets promoting the rumour were discovered in Jin's home and officers were now searching for her.