China Suffers Spate of Violent Attacks In Recent Months

A Chinese man opened fire in a central China court office, killing three judges and wounding three additional people before turning the gun on himself.

According to the official Xinhua News Agency, the assailant was a 46-year-old man who was angry at the court for having ruled against him in a property division dispute. The ruling was made three years ago when Zhu Jun and his wife were going through a divorce.

Zhu, the head of security at the Lingling district post office, told a colleague that he was taking his guns—two pistols and an automatic weapon—to be inspected by city authorities. Instead, however, he went to the District People’s Court, broke into an office on the fourth floor, and began firing.

The judges whom Zhu shot had not been involved in the property dispute, and were discussing a case that was unrelated to him. Three other people were wounded in the shooting but are expected to live. Zhu, who had been living with his elderly parents following his divorce, then took his own life.

This incident is one of several in recent months that have shocked the country of China, which has traditionally seen few acts of violence taking place in the public sphere and against multiple victims. Experts say that the free-market economic reforms of the past few years, as well as looser social controls in the communist nation, have spurred a wave of violent crimes—despite the fact that private gun ownership is banned in China.

Other attackers have used knives, tools, and even vehicles to injure and kill others. A man who wanted to protest the demolition of houses in his village drove his truck into a crowd of workers, killing three and injuring an additional 13. Bystanders described how the man stopped his truck in the middle of the road, then accelerated suddenly and hit the workers. He was identified as Liu Danao, and although he has not been arrested, he is being pursued by police.

Additionally, a woman in her 40s is reported to have attacked nine fellow railways passengers on an overnight train. She stabbed her victims, including a 73-year-old woman, in the arms and legs before being arrested by police. Three of the stabber’s nine victims were treated and released.

Other attacks in China, especially several that killed schoolchildren, have been widely publicized.

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