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“School Killings in China: Society or Wilderness?”

In: Social Issues

Submitted By weich
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Hans Steinmüller and Wu Fei wrote the article titled, “School killings in China: Society or wilderness?” for Anthropology Today Volume 27 NO 1, February 2011. The article starts by first describing the stabbing of thirteen children who were waiting for the gates of their school to open and then goes on to discuss five other school killings that occurred between March 23, 2010 and May 12, 2010. The six cases share similarities, middle-aged men using knives, hammers, or cleavers to inflict harm on school children. The main focus of the article is on the media responses to the killings and what they imply about the Chinese society. Failure and frustration was the main “cause” of the murdering of the school children for each of the six cases. Also, although it is not as clearly seen, the killings seem to be “revenge against society”. As stated in the article, “For many Chinese, it seems, society is either a hostile wilderness, or else something that has been overwhelmed by the power of the party-state: in either case, a positive or neutral notion of ‘society’ seems impossible.” Each of these killings of innocent school children seemed to represent a lashing out at the government and society as a whole. By targeting the most vulnerable members of society instead of the heads, i.e. government officials, the killers devastated the ‘“only hope’ of these children’s families and their country”. The article then goes on to say that most of those killed were only-children, due to the one-child generation prevalent in China. Their family name would no longer be carried on and the families not only lost a child, they lost their future. In my opinion, based on this article and other articles I have previously read regarding the subject, the problem is with both these individual men and society. Each of these men had to have had some sort of depression or mental disorder, even...

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