Chinese man condemned to death for school killings

Chinese man condemned to death for school killings

BEIJING - A man who killed three children and injured 13 others in an axe attack at a primary school in China has been sentenced to death, state-run media reported.

Wu Yechang was condemned to die by the Intermediate People’s Court in Guigang in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, the semi-official China News Service said Thursday.

He was also ordered to pay the victims’ families a total of 19,316 yuan ($3,190), it said, citing a local court in Pingnan county where the attack took place in September 2012.

Wu, who had few friends, had suffered from illness and was depressed at the time, it added. The sentence must be confirmed by China’s supreme court.

China has seen several violent attacks against children in recent years, including a spate of five incidents in 2010 that left 15 children and two adults dead and wounded more than 80.

In late 2012 a man stabbed 22 primary school students in a knife attack in Henan province, though nobody died and injuries were reported not to be life-threatening.

The attacks have forced authorities to increase security around schools and led to calls for more research into the root causes of such acts.

Violent crime has been on the rise in China in recent decades as the nation’s economy has boomed and the gap between rich and poor has expanded rapidly.

Studies have also described a rise in the prevalence of mental disorders, some of them linked to stress as the pace of life becomes faster and socialist support systems wither.

But authorities say that murder, which can carry the death penalty, remains far less common than in most Western countries.

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