What was meant to be a fun safety talk at a kindergarten in Henan province ended in chaos yesterday after a policeman's gun went off, injuring a child and four parents.
The policeman, who was at the kindergarten with a colleague ahead of Children's Day, took out his pistol and tested it to satisfy "the curiosity of the children", thinking it was unloaded, the Southern Metropolis Daily said.
But during the demonstration, the live round went off and shattered the cement floor, police said. The fragments hit a child's arm and leg, and grazed four parents, the newspaper said.
The injured were sent to the No 3 People's Hospital and at least one had to undergo surgery, according to the Henan Business Herald, which broke the story.
None of the patients were in critical condition.
One of those injured told the Herald that the officer allowed parents to take photographs of him holding what they thought was an unloaded gun.
Other parents who were at home during the accidental shooting later rushed in to pick up their children, Radio Henan reported.
The two police officers - who were giving the demonstration at the private Haiwen Experimental Kindergarten in Zhengzhou - were placed in solitary confinement, police said.
Three officials from the bureau were suspended, but the reasons for the action were unclear.
News of the accident was reposted online 2,000 times within a few hours and drew hundreds of comments.
The country's law requires the police to compensate the victims and foot their medical bills if it is found that officers misused their firearms, resulting in death or injury.