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Knife Attack Victims Recovering

The 14 children and three teachers injured in Wednesday's kindergarten's attack are now stabilized and out of danger, officials at the No 1 Hospital affiliated with Peking University said yesterday.

The mother's and infant's section of the hospital, which had been sealed by security guards on Wednesday, was reopened to the public yesterday.

Since most of the children's wounds were to their heads and necks, they are still being cared for in special wards out of fear of infection, said a hospital official.

A knife-wielding gatekeeper at a kindergarten at the hospital slashed 15 young children with a kitchen knife Wednesday morning, killing one child and injuring three teachers before he was subdued by police.

Officials said yesterday the dead child was a 4-year old boy. A 2-year-old is the youngest victim and the oldest is about 6.

"It is not only physical pain," said Hong Baose, a psychological expert specializing in children at the Beijing Tongren Hospital. "It is a great mental anguish to young innocent children, too."

She said parents of the children holding up well and exhibiting "good psychology" could greatly reduce the negative impacts of the tragedy on the children.

"Do not show any fear or anxiety in front of the children," Hong advised. The parents and the kindergarten teachers have to be confident, or at least pretend to be capable of handling the situation, she said.

She counseled being careful and not letting the feelings of the children affect others, she said.

"Distract their attention if the children are found talking about the incident with each other," Hong added.

Though a witness to the grisly attack said he was surprised that the injured children were not crying when they were being readied for transport to hospital, Hong said it was a natural response for human beings in great shock.

Hong said she hopes the parents, the friends and neighborhood residents of the injured kids try their best not to talk about the incident when the victims are around.

The suspect, Xu Heping, 52, is now in police custody.

Though he had a medical record of mental disease before the slashing, it may not mean he will escape criminal liability for his actions, said a law expert.

Zhang Wen, a law professor at Peking University, said a judicatory mental check-up is needed as soon as possible.

If judges are convinced Xu was insane, he added, Xu would be sent to a special hospital to receive medical treatment and supervision.

But if the check-up showed no signs of Xu being delusional or insane within hours of his crime, he would be tried to face charges and a just penalty, if convicted.

Xu had been working as a temporary gatekeeper for two years. He was introduced to officials there by his wife, who works at the hospital.

(China Daily August 6, 2004)

Man Stabs 15 Kindergarten Children
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