Tragedies expose US, China’s mutual vulnerabilities

By Chen Chenchen Source:Global Times Published: 2012-12-17 1:10:04

On the same day as the shooting rampage in Connecticut that killed 28, including 22 children, a primary school in Chenpeng village in Henan Province also experienced the horrors of a bloody attack. A 36-year-old suspect stabbed 22 schoolchildren with a knife, leaving them in critical condition. The identified US murderer is believed to have a personality disorder.

One case involved an upscale community in the US and the other is among the poorest regions of China. The two cases have been noticed and compared by observers both at home and abroad. US media, focused on the issue of gun control, cited analysts who believe the only difference between the two cases "is not the suspect, nor the situation, but the simple fact that he [the Chinese suspect] did not have an effective weapon." In their eyes, the Chinese case, which caused serious injuries but no fatal cases as yet, proves that the US should learn from the tight gun control policies of other countries.

On the other hand, the Chinese public has focused on the slow official response and the level of social reflection. Many are furious that while the Americans have started mourning nationwide, the Chinese appear insensitive to the Henan case.

Since Friday, when the knife attack took place, two journalists from the Xinhua News Agency who went to the village school in Henan have been making critical comments on Weibo indicating that the responses from local officials are too slow and cold, with many details of the attack remaining unknown to the public.

The Henan case reflects thorny social problems in China. In rural areas, the mechanisms for the supervision and care of the mentally ill are lacking. As family support remains the major channel for caring for them, mentally ill people roaming around unsupervised can bring hidden dangers.

School security is another weak spot. Although China has called for security measures to be strengthened since 2010 following a series of fatal attacks targeting school children by knife-wielding criminals, it remains a reality that rural education, including school security, is severely inadequate.

The two school tragedies have exposed the powerlessness of both the US and China in certain aspects of society. The dangers that vulnerable groups face are difficult to root out regardless of the economic level of a country.

But efforts should be practically boosted to minimize possible loopholes and lessen the chances of these kinds of events from happening again.


Chinese media digest:
US school shooting resurrects gun control debate, Chinese media laments lack of campus violence coverage

Related story:
Anger at attack response


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