BEIJING – Chinese police have released surveillance video footage of a knife-wielding attacker who stabbed 22 students at a primary school last week, after the assault was given limited prominence in national media.
The grainy video shows a male attacker pursuing a group of children through a school gate and slashing one child with a knife, causing her to fall to the ground.
Panicked children then stream out of the school gates to escape the attacker, identified by local police as 36-year-old Min Yongjun, before adults enter equipped with straw brooms, chasing out Min.
No guards are visible close to the school’s gate.
No one was killed but 22 children were injured in the attack at a school in the central Chinese province of Henan on Friday, the same day that 20 children were shot dead at a primary school in Newtown, Connecticut in the US.
Despite the severity and scale of the US attack Chinese social media users complained that the Henan incident should have been given more coverage in the country.
“The headlines are still dominated by the American attack, I haven’t seen reports about the attack in Henan which happened on the same day,” wrote one user of Sina Weibo — a website similar to Twitter.
“Aren’t Chinese children’s lives also important? It’s a tragedy.”
According to instructions obtained by the China Digital Times website the government’s central propaganda department told Chinese media to downplay the Henan attack.
It quoted officials as telling media not to put the news on the front page or lure readers to it, and not to produce reports or comment on it other than those provided by Xinhua, the state-run news agency.
Local authorities said that Min had been “influenced by rumours of the end of the world”, which some in China believe is due to occur on Friday, in line with supposed Mayan prophecies.
Six local officials including the school principal were removed from their positions, according to reports.