PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 January, 2013, 10:35am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 January, 2013, 11:06am

Heroic Hunan school principal dies protecting pupils from knife-wielding man


Amy Li began her journalism career as a crime news reporter in Queens, New York, in 2004. She joined Reuters in Beijing in 2008 as a multimedia editor. Amy taught journalism at Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in Chengdu before joining SCMP in Hong Kong in 2012. She is now an online news editor for Amy can be reached at, or follow her on Twitter @AmyLiSCMP

A 59-year-old primary school principal in China’s southern Hunan province was killed trying defend himself against a  knife-wielding man on Tuesday, China News Service reported.

The brutal attack occurred around 1.50pm when a man and a woman stormed into Beidu Primary school in Xinghua county, the reports said.

The man attacked a boy in the third-grade, later identified by police as Wang Zhenyu.

The principal, Yang Jianyi, tried to stop the man as he was fleeing.

Yang was stabbed multiple times as he fought with the man, a China News Service reporter said on his Weibo. Yang then died, not far from the school.

The injured pupil remains hospitalised but is expected to survive the attack, according to media reports.

The police later arrested the suspects. The man had a grudge against Wang Zhenyu’s family because of disputes over some land, said a Weibo post by People’s Daily . He had previously been jailed for a year after attacking Wang’s grandmother and breaking her arm.

Yang Jianyi, who had also lived in the school, was well liked by students and residents. He is survived by his wife and two daughters.

This tragedy happened only a few weeks after a man in Henan, also armed with a knife, stormed a village school and injured 23 students in December last year.

In an attempt to boost school security, Beijing security officials announced last week that every kindergarten, primary and secondary school in China would hire at least one full-time security officer. 



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