ANOTHER Chinese cover-up of Muslim violence?

BEIJING — A knife-wielding man went on a slashing rampage in a kindergarten in eastern China, leaving three children and one teacher dead in the country’s latest in an alarming series of school attacks.

Officials refused to release details of the attack, saying they feared reports could inspire copycat killers. The assault was among the worst in a spate of gory rampages this year in schools and in public spaces that have left dozens of people dead and scores wounded.

The assailant entered the Boshan District Experimental Kindergarten’s Jinfengyuan branch in a suburb of Zibo in Shandong province at about 4 p.m. Tuesday as parents were picking up their children, according to people living nearby contacted by telephone. About 20 children and staff members were injured, two of the children seriously, they said.

Official news media were largely silent on the attack Wednesday — a sign editors had been told to steer clear of the topic as part of efforts to discourage more violence and calm public fears.

Online postings about it were deleted by mid-afternoon by government censors who police the Internet for material considered politically sensitive.

However, Xinhua issued an English-language report late Wednesday saying police had detained a 26-year-old man on suspicion of killing at least three children. It said self-employed worker Fang Jiantang had admitted committing the attack with a 24-inch (60 centimeter) knife, but his motive was unknown.

“The country has a regulation about reporting on these sorts of reports. There’s a worry that they might inspire copycat crimes creating a negative impact, so therefore, we are not issuing a report,” Bi told The Associated Press by phone.

The Zibo killings came just two days after a man driving an earth mover in Hebei province to the west went on a rampage, smashing vehicles and buildings and leaving 17 dead.

Other recent mass killings include a May 12 attack on a kindergarten in the northern province of Shaanxi that killed seven children and two adults, and the wounding of 29 children at a kindergarten in Jiangsu province in April. Washington Examiner

A teacher at the school who lives across the street said it started suddenly and silently and at first people didn’t realize why students were falling to the ground. “Whenever he saw a child he would grab him by the shoulder and stab him. Or he would hold the child by the neck and stab downward,” the teacher, identified only by her surname, Li, was quoting as saying by the Beijing Daily newspaper.

CHINA SCHOOL ATTACKS JUST IN 2010

March 23: A man stabs eight students to death and wounds five others at an elementary school in Fujian province. The attacker, a former community doctor, was executed.

April 28: A male teacher barged into a primary school in southern Guangdong province, wounding 16 pupils and a teacher.

April 29: An unemployed man stormed into a kindergarten in Taixing city in Jiangsu province with a knife. At least 28 children were injured, most of them four year olds.

April 30: A farmer entered a village school in Shandong province and attacked preschool students with a hammer, causing head injuries. He then set himself on fire and died.

May 12: Seven children were killed, and at least 20 others wounded after an attack at a kindergarten in Shaanxi province.

May 16: A man attacked six girls with a meat cleaver at a busy Chinese market before committing suicide by jumping out of a building, according to state-run media. CNN

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