School attacks shed light on inequality (3)

08:08, May 06, 2010      

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Xin Feng is the father of 4-year-old Xin Peiyuan, who was injured in the neck at the kindergarten in Taixing, Jiangsu.

"My child is still in the ICU at the Taixing People's Hospital and can't speak," he said.

He said grief counseling is now being provided to children affected in the incident.

Zhao Juqin, a mother of a 9-year-old child in Taizhou, Jiangsu, expressed her fears of further attacks.

"If those children were killed or hurt by an earthquake, I could accept it after a period of time; but I can't accept these kinds of violent attacks on children."

'Social inequality'

Geng Shen, a researcher with the Beijing Academy of Educational Sciences, told the Global Times that the recent vicious attacks on schools and kindergarten children are not an educational issue.

"Children are innocent. They should not become victims of social inequality," he said.

"When it comes to school and children's security, governments at all levels should not only take stopgap measures. They have to prepare for emergencies in advance," he said, adding that there are also other safety hazards at schools.

According to official figures, more than 6,600 students were killed during the Sichuan earthquake in 2008, giving rise to harsh criticism over the quality of school constructions.

And in a school stampede last year in Hunan Province, eight students were crushed or suffocated to death and 26 students were hurt when about 400 students made a dash for a narrow staircase.

But despite the beefed-up security, commentators say the fundamental measure to preventing mass violence of this grave nature, which is often rare in China, is to address social injustice and curb corruption.

Zhou Xiaozheng, a sociology professor at the Renmin University of China, said that increasing the number of guards in and around schools isn't a fundamental solution.

"The latest measures could only improve school security partially and in a short run. Without addressing root problems, similar violent incidents will occur again."

On Tuesday, during his visit to Peking University, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao reiterated the promotion of social equity.

Guo Qiang contributed to this story

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