On the same day Adam Lanza shot and killed 20 children and six adults in Connecticut during one of the most deadly acts of in-school violence in American history, 36-year-old Min Yongjun of China left 23 students and an elderly woman wounded after going on a knife rampage at a primary school in Central China’s Henan province. Like Lanza, Yongjun’s attack is suspected to be connected to mental illness, as a local government report says the Chinese man was influenced by rumors that the world was about to end. CNN has released on their YouTube channel Monday security footage video of Yongjun with a knife chasing frantic students near the school’s gate, before being driven off by several adult males that had grabbed whatever objects they could to subdue the attacker.
According to a government report obtained by China Daily, in addition to fears about the Mayan Calendar, Yongjun had epilepsy. Yongjun had stabbed and slashed students in the head and face before being knocked to the ground by a teacher wielding a stick, after which the attacker ran away. The China Daily reports that Guangshan county people’s procuratorate confirmed on Monday that Yongjun had been arrested for endangering public security.
None of the injured students are in critical condition, while four have serious injuries. BBC News reports that security at China’s schools has been increased in recent years following similar knife attacks that left nearly 20 children killed.
Fears over an apocalypse at the Mayan Calendar’s end–which came and went on December 21–were prevalent in China. Paranoia spread over the possibility of a December 21 doomsday after the release of the 2009 Hollywood film starring John Cusack “2012,” which was a hit in China. A candle buying panic took off in the Sichuan province, and police in Shanghai released an official public warning that “The end of the world is a rumor,” and “Do not believe it and do not be swindled.”
There has been a decree of public outcry in China over the lack of media coverage given to the knife attack, and according to instructions obtained by the China Digital Times website, the government’s central propaganda department had told Chinese media to downplay what happened in Henan. AFP reports that six local officials, including the school principal, have been removed from their positions.