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The suspect in a knife rampage that left 23 students and an elderly woman wounded on Friday was influenced by rumors that the world was about to end, a local government report said.
A mother weeps as she looks at wounds her son, Wei Xiang, suffered during a knife attack on Sunday in Guangshan county, Henan province. WANG ZHONGJU / FOR CHINA DAILY
Min Yongjun, earlier identified by authorities as Min Yingjun, 36, a villager from Wenshu township in Guangshan county in Central China's Henan province, is being questioned after the students at a primary school and an 85-year-old woman living nearby were slashed on Friday morning.
Min told police he attacked the children after hearing rumors about the end of the world, said a report the county government released on its website on Monday. The report also said Min has epilepsy.
According to some readings of the Mayan calendar, the world will end on Dec 21. Police nationwide have warned people to be wary of "end of the world" scams.
The Guangshan county people's procuratorate confirmed on Monday that Min has been arrested for endangering public security.
Earlier, government reports said 22 students were injured, but police found another student had escaped and run home after being stabbed, the government website said.
Rao Mingsheng, director of Guangshan county health bureau, said on Monday none of those wounded is in critical condition. Four of them have serious injuries.
Some of the students remain in the county hospital, and others have been transferred to larger hospitals in Xinyang city, Henan province, and Wuhan, Hubei province, the county health bureau said.
Eight students were sent to Tongji Hospital in Wuhan, with most of them had head and facial wounds, Wuhan's Chutian Golden Newspaper reported.
The report said the suspect was knocked to the ground by a teacher wielding a stick when he ran out of the classroom and tried to escape.
Zhang Zhixun, a resident of Min's village, said most of the students' parents are migrant workers who are at home only during the Spring Festival holiday.
China Daily's phone calls and text messages to the county's publicity director and the education bureau chief were unanswered on Monday.
The attack drew fierce criticism on the Internet after a report by the Xinhua News Agency said an education official was playing video games in his office when interviewed by the media.
Xinyang Daily, administrated by the Xinyang city government, did not report on the slashed children. Instead, it carried a report on Monday praising the education authorities in Guangshan county, bringing more criticism from the public.
Xue Manzi, a renowned blogger with more than 9.15 million followers on his micro blog, criticized the authorities: "The government of Guangshan county kept silent after the students were slashed. The county is poverty-stricken, but reporters said the government building is magnificent."
The county government said it has started to check security at all local schools to avoid similar cases. The Xinyang city government vowed on Monday to make a thorough security check at more than 3,000 kindergartens and schools in the city.