BEIJING — A farmer attacked kindergarten students with a hammer, injuring five, before burning himself to death Friday in China's third such assault in as many days and prompting the government to demand stricter school security nationwide.
Wang Yonglai used a motorcycle to break down the gate of the Shangzhuang Primary School in the eastern city of Weifang and struck a teacher who tried to block him before hitting students with the hammer, the official Xinhua News Agency said.
Wang then grabbed two children before pouring gasoline over his body and setting fire to himself. Teachers were able to pull the children away to safety, but Wang died. None of the five injured students had life-threatening injuries, Xinhua said.
The attack was confirmed by an employee at the Weifang Public Security information office. But the motive for Wang's rampage was unclear. Xinhua described him only as a local farmer.
State media either ignored or played down the attack, perhaps to discourage copycat attacks as some experts have urged or to avoid overshadowing the opening of the World Expo in Shanghai, a pet project of the communist government.
Most of the recent school attacks have been blamed on people with personal grudges or mental illness — seen as a growing problem because of feelings of social injustice and alienation in the fast-changing country.