Linchang: China said on Friday that its police will open fire on any future school attackers "without mercy" after the deadliest in a string of recent assaults killed seven preschoolers and two adults this week.
"If criminals dare to do this kind of thing again, we will act according to criminal law and firearms regulations, and without mercy. Because being tolerant of this kind of crazy criminal behaviour is a crime and is irresponsible to millions of people," a spokesman for the Public Security Ministry, Wu Heping, told a news briefing.
The attacker who barged into a kindergarten in northern China with a cleaver on Wednesday morning had been depressed and psychotic and had attempted suicide at least twice in the weeks before the rampage, local police said.
Meanwhile, in the communist leadership`s first comment on a wave of similar school attacks, Premier Wen Jiabao said there was a need to seek the underlying causes in addition to toughening up safety measures.
"We are making serious efforts in tackling social tensions, settling disputes and improving local governments` ability to smooth things out," Wen told Hong Kong`s Phoenix TV late Thursday.
Eleven children injured in the attack remained hospitalized Friday in the northwestern city of Hanzhong. The attacker, 48-year-old Wu Huanming, killed himself after returning home after the Wednesday morning mayhem in the farming village of Linchang on Hanzhong`s outskirts.
Speculation on the motive for the attack has centred on a spiralling dispute between Wu Huanming and the school`s administrator, Wu Hongying, to whom Wu Huanming had leased the school.
In addition, Wu had shown signs of depression and psychosis for some time as a result of worsening illnesses, including diabetes and an inflamed prostate, Li Zhenfeng, a deputy Hanzhong police chief, told reporters on Thursday.
Wu attempted suicide twice last month and repeatedly told family members of his intention to kill himself, Li said. Wu also believed Wu Hongying had cast a spell on him preventing his recovery, he said.
"With these factors combined, Wu Huanming decided to take his revenge against others and commit suicide, and he directed his hatred toward Wu Hongying," Li told a news conference.
As in other recent school assaults, Wednesday morning`s attack came with no warning.