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Nine Dead After Chinese School Slaying

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Seven children and two adults were killed at a kindergarten in northwest China on Wednesday. It was the fifth major assault on young students in the country since March.

As the Associated Press reports, 48-year old Wu Huanming began his attack as the children were arriving at the private Shengshui Temple Kindergarten near the city of Hanzhong in the morning. Wu used a cleaver to kill the school's administrator and a student on the spot, then hacked at 18 others, according to a statement from the local government. Eleven other children were wounded.

Following his rampage, Wu returned home and committed suicide.

This is the latest in a string of savage school killings by lone male assailants that have rocked the country since late March. As a result, security at schools in the country has been increased, with gates and cameras installed, and guards posted at entrances.

Both the government and state media have focused on security, instead of examining what might be motivating school attackers. There was no mention of Wednesday’s attacks on state television's national news report and early reports were removed from Chinese web sites, an apparent attempt to play down the incident.

Sociologists say the attacks reflect a lack of support for the mentally ill in the country and rising stress resulting from huge social inequalities in China's fast-changing society.