Chenpeng Village Primary School stabbing

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Chenpeng Village Primary School stabbing
China knife man attack school.png
Footage of the attack significantly contributed to wide-spread news coverage
LocationChenpeng (simplified Chinese: 陈棚村; traditional Chinese: 陳棚村; pinyin: Chénpéng-cūn), Wenshu Township,
Guangshan County, Henan, China
Coordinates31°55′27.19″N 114°46′4.58″E / 31.9242194°N 114.7679389°E / 31.9242194; 114.7679389Coordinates: 31°55′27.19″N 114°46′4.58″E / 31.9242194°N 114.7679389°E / 31.9242194; 114.7679389
Date14 December 2012 (2012-12-14)
Reported to police at 07:40 [1] Beijing Time (GMT+8)
TargetStudents and an elderly woman
WeaponsKitchen knife
Non-fatal injuries
Suspected perpetrator
Min Yongjun

On 14 December 2012 between 7 and 8 a.m. local time, a 36-year-old villager identified as Min Yongjun[2] stabbed 24 people, including 23 children and an elderly woman,[3] in a knife attack at Chenpeng Village Primary School (simplified Chinese: 陈棚村完全小学; traditional Chinese: 陳棚村完全小學; pinyin: Chénpéng Cūn Wánquán Xiǎoxué[note 1]), Wenshu Township, Guangshan County, Henan province, China.[1][4][5][6] The children targeted by the knifeman are thought likely to be between six and eleven years of age. The attack occurred as the children were arriving for classes probably at 8:00 or maybe even 9:00.[5]

The incident has followed other school attacks in China since 2010 by mentally disturbed perpetrators involved in personal disputes or unhappy with the rapid changes occurring in Chinese society.[4] Security guards had been posted at schools across China,[5][7] with all schools to have a security guard by 2013.[8]


Due to strict gun control laws in China, knives are usually the weapon of choice in violent crimes.[9] The attack on the children occurred at the entrance of the school.[10] Min first targeted the elderly woman, aged 85, who lived next to the school. He went to her house at around 7 a.m., stole one of her knives and attacked her head. The woman's daughter said an argument had occurred.[11] At around 7:40 a.m., Min pursued the children with the knife he had stolen from the elderly woman's house and slashed them, many on their heads.[11] Xinhua reported that some of the children had had fingers or ears cut off in the knife attack.[12]

Min was restrained at the primary school, and transferred to police custody.[5] The victims were treated at three hospitals.[11] Two of the children were taken to hospitals located outside Guangshan County to receive better care.[13] None of the victims were fatally wounded.[14]


The suspect was initially identified to be Min Yingjun (simplified Chinese: 闵应军; traditional Chinese: 閔應軍; pinyin: Mǐn Yìngjūn); however, later reports identified the perpetrator to be a different man, Min Yongjun (simplified Chinese: 闵拥军; traditional Chinese: 閔擁軍; pinyin: Mǐn Yōngjūn), of the same village as Min Yingjun.[2] He is reported to have had a long history of epileptic seizures,[2] and to have been influenced by the 2012 doomsday phenomenon. This has recently been propagated in China by the Oriental Lightning cult.[15]


The Guangshan County government established an emergency response team for the incident.[5] The coverage of the incident in local media was tightly controlled, with Beijing usually restricting coverage of such sensitive topics to dissuade copycat attacks,[16] and an article in the Financial Times reported a backlash by Chinese citizens due to the lack of coverage of the school stabbings.[16] An article in The Associated Press similarly wrote that a possible reason why authorities wanted to restrict the news was to either "prevent encouraging others or to play down the crime to keep blame off the government."[17]

Officials detained 52 people for spreading doomsday rumours, such as distributing leaflets.[18]

On 16 December, the suspect was arrested and charged with the crime of endangering public safety by dangerous means.[19]

Six officials were fired. The reason for the dismissals have not been announced.[20]


Some commentaries situated the knife attacks in the wider context of China's social and economic transformation, noting the inadequacies in the country’s health care system for diagnosing and treating citizens suffering psychiatric distress and illnesses.[4][21]

As the Chenpeng school attack was followed by the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in the United States hours later[22][23] comparisons were drawn between the two. The difference in gun control laws between the two countries was used to explain the disparity in casualties of the school attacks by journalists and politicians, including U.S. Representative Jerry Nadler,[17][24][25] and an article in the Associated Press noted that despite the different outcomes, an underlying commonality between the attacks was the increased frequency of school attacks because, "attackers often seek out the vulnerable, hoping to amplify their outrage before they themselves often commit suicide."[17]

Comparisons were also drawn between the incident handling by the local and national governments involved. The lack of coverage by Chinese state-run news channels, and the lack of any emotional response from the Chinese government at all levels were contrasted to the detailed US media coverage and US President Barack Obama's national speech, including his commitment to tackle the underlying issues.[16][26][27]


The local police released footage from a security camera showing the attacker barging into the school and attacking a student. The video was noted and analysed by many news agencies, and contributed significantly to the widespread coverage of the incident.[28][29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Chenpeng Village Complete/Total Elementary School" meaning it covers years one through six


  1. ^ a b "22 students injured in central China knife attack". People Daily. 14 December 2012. Retrieved 21 December 2012.
  2. ^ a b c 闵应军:河南22名学生被砍 凶犯闵应军实为"闵拥军"
  3. ^ Suspect in school knife attack 'feared end of the world', China Daily (18 December 2012)
  4. ^ a b c "Man Stabs 22 Children in China". The New York Times. 14 December 2012. Retrieved 14 December 2012.
  5. ^ a b c d e "China stabbing spree hurts 22 schoolchildren". CBC News. 14 December 2012. Retrieved 14 December 2012.
  6. ^ "China: Children Hurt In School Knife Attack". Sky News. 14 December 2012. Retrieved 14 December 2012.
  7. ^ "China deploys security guards in schools to avoid bloodbath repeat". 1 September 2010. Retrieved 15 December 2012.
  8. ^ "China to deploy more security guards at schools - Thaindian News". 17 August 2012. Retrieved 15 December 2012.
  9. ^ John Hannon (14 December 2012). "Man slashes 22 children near China school". Los Angeles Times.
  10. ^ "Mentally challenged man stabs 22 schoolchildren in China". Press TV. 14 December 2012. Retrieved 14 December 2012.
  11. ^ a b c "22 students stabbed in central China attack". Xinhua News Agency. 14 December 2012. Retrieved 14 December 2012.
  12. ^ Mark Mcdonald (15 December 2012). "China Calls for 'No Delay' on Gun Controls in U.S." International Herald Tribune.
  13. ^ "China school knife attack in Henan injures 22 children". BBC News. 14 December 2012.
  14. ^ Vinter, Phil (14 December 2012). "22 children and elderly woman stabbed outside primary school by Chinese knifeman". Daily Mail. London. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
  15. ^ Wee, Sui-Lee (2012-12-17). Birsel, Robert, ed. "China detains 93 for doomsday rumors: Xinhua". Reuters. Retrieved 2012-12-17.
  16. ^ a b c Jamil Anderlini (16 December 2012). "China highlights contrasting gun law". CNN-IBN. Financial Times.
  17. ^ a b c Hutzler, Charles (15 December 2012). "Schools and students are targets worldwide". Associated Press. Retrieved 15 December 2012.
  18. ^ Li Qian (17 December 2012). "School hacker obsessed with doomsday". Shanghai Daily.
  19. ^ 河南光山砍伤学生嫌疑人闵拥军被批准逮捕,
  20. ^ "6 Chinese officials fired after school stabbing". The Huffington Post. Associated Press. 18 December 2012.
  21. ^ Liu, Melinda (15 December 2012). "Not Just Sandy Hook: China's Terrifying Knife Attacks". The Daily Beast.
  22. ^ 闵拥军砍伤22名学生 中国36岁男子闵拥军落网 - 名城西安 (in Chinese). 15 December 2012. Retrieved 15 December 2012.
  23. ^ "22 Students In China Stabbed In Elementary School Attack by 36-year-old Villager Min Yongjun". American Live Wire. Retrieved 15 December 2012.
  24. ^ Evan Osnos (15 December 2012). "China Watches Newtown: Guns and American Credibility". The New Yorker.
  25. ^ McAuliff, Michael (15 December 2012). "On Gun Control, Jerry Nadler Explains What Congress Could Do Right Now". The Huffington Post.
  26. ^ Vinter, Phil (14 December 2012). "22 children and elderly woman stabbed outside primary school by Chinese knifeman". Daily Mail. London.
  27. ^ Xu Weiwei (17 December 2012), "Knife attack on school injures 23 kids in China", Morning Whistle, retrieved 18 December 2012
  28. ^ "Chinese Police Release Video of School Stabbing". AP. 19 December 2012. Retrieved 20 December 2012.
  29. ^ "WATCH: Shocking video of stabbing spree at Chinese school". Daily Bhaskar. 20 December 2012. Retrieved 20 December 2012.