Beijing airport explosion

One dead, 3 hurt in indiscriminate knife attack in Beijing

Random rampage adds to growing fears about deteriorating public safety on mainland

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 23 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 23 July, 2013, 6:45am

A woman was killed and three people, including a 2-1/2-year-old boy, were hurt in another indiscriminate attack in Beijing yesterday amid rising concerns over public safety on the mainland.

The attack came just a week after a 27-year-old mentally ill man from Shandong province stabbed to death two people, including a foreign national, in Chaoyang district on July 17.

On Saturday, wheelchair-bound petitioner Ji Zhongxing was taken into custody for setting off an improvised bomb made of fireworks gunpowder at Beijing's international airport. Ji lost his left hand but no bystanders were injured after he warned passers-by to move away before he detonated the device.

Police said they detained a 50-year-old Beijing man who attacked three men and a woman with a knife inside a Carrefour supermarket in Xicheng district at midday. They did not identify the man nor discuss his motive.

Legal Evening News quoted witnesses including staff as saying the man bought the knife on the store's second floor before stabbing the victims. Security guards subdued him while he was holding the bloody knife.

Xinhua online identified one victim as a 2-1/2-year-old boy who later had surgery to remove his spleen. A 14-year-old child, an adult woman and a 24-year-old man were also admitted to hospital with knife wounds. The woman died later, China News Service and The Beijing News reported.

Beijing Institute of Technology economics professor Hu Xingdou , a frequent commentator on social issues, said that while such attacks could not be justified by whatever injustice these people claimed to have suffered, they should serve as a wake-up call to address the lack of a sound legal system and social safety net as the wealth gap continued to widen.

"People can fall into despair if they feel they have not been treated fairly for a long time, and that can lead to irrational acts," he said.

But Peking University sociologist Zheng Yefu said the public should not read too much into the recent spate of attacks as there was no evidence to suggest a serious decline in law and order at the moment.

He said public concern over such incidents could be influenced by the intense media coverage. "The public might have to learn to go about their lives in a world they increasingly see via the media," Zheng said.