The death of six people, including two pre-schoolers, at the hands of an ax-wielding man in central China early Wednesday, has provoked a heated debate online about mental health.
The attack took place in Gongyi city in Henan province when a 30-year-old man, Wang Hongbin, allegedly began hacking people on the street, according to the International Information Office. He is now in police custody.
The incident is the latest in a series of violent assaults involving children in China. In most cases the attackers were suspected of having mental health problems. In a brazen attack last March, a community doctor in Fujian province stabbed eight children to death out of rage after he was jilted by his girlfriend, shocking the entire nation.
Similarly, the Henan incident struck a chord on China’s social networks, as netizens debated the reasons behind such attacks.
One Weibo user, @FuShanLangRen, criticized the government.
“There are many mental health patients in China. Government should be punished for such incident – how much money has it squandered every year? The government should be providing frequent checkups, treatments, medicine. The community should be paying regular visits to families with patients, and put serious cases to immediate treatment. Add this tragedy to the wrongdoings of those in power.”
While another user, @ChengShuGuoCheng, reflected on what had caused the stabbing spree: “Though seemingly an individual occurrence, it is time for our society to truly reflect. In addition to our heartbreaks, we should also remember the unknown story behind every single attacker – how did they come to this point? Why didn’t our society spot their illnesses earlier to prevent the tragedies? Isn’t our society missing something?”
Many others, such as @GuYueZhiYong, expressed anger toward society, posting: “Mental health patient? I think it is the society that has gone insane. Severely Condemn! A moment of silence for the victims”.
@ChunFengHeXie posed the question: “Is this the sorrow of society or of individual? Regardless, to the perished children, there are no axes in heaven.”
According to studies by the Chinese Society of Psychiatry, China has seen a rise in the prevalence of mental disorders, citing stress and insufficient medical care as potential causes.
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