Stung by recurring attacks on school going tiny tots, thousands of policemen in riot gear fanned out to provide security to educational institutions across China, as the authorities vowed to "severely punish" offenders.
Public Security Minister Meng Jianzhu pulled up top policemen all over the country asking them to beef up security around all kindergartens following yesterday's bloodbath in a primary school which left nine people dead -- the seventh such attack in less than two months.
"We must strike at such inhuman criminals so that they don't dare to lay hands on children," Xinhua quoted Jianzhu as instructing the police chiefs.
Following his orders, police all over China drew up plans to provide protection to thousands of schools, which stepped up their drive to hire security guards.
A 48-year-old man, who killed seven children and two women with a kitchen cleaver at a kindergarten in northwest China's Shaanxi Province yesterday, committed suicide.
Eighteen children have been killed and about 80 injured in similar attacks in other schools.
Following yesterday’s attack ministries of public security and education jointly held an emergency nationwide teleconference to tell local departments to upgrade security of the schools all over the country.
Security in privately-run schools and kindergartens as well as those in remote areas and rural regions should be scrutinised, and police should conduct security sweeps in schools and other public facilities where children gathered, said a statement from the police authority.
Police forces at all levels should step up measures to deter attacks on children, it said.
Jianzhu said at the conference that local police forces should cooperate with education authorities to more rigorously search for security risks around kindergartens and schools, Xinhua reported.
Meng asked police forces to work closely with other community security organisations for the safety of the children.
He also called for improved psychological counselling for anti-social and paranoid individuals.
Police should also talk more with the public to help resolve disputes and problems so as to reduce social conflict.
Authorities in many cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Jinan, Lanzhou and Wuxi, have deployed more police and security guards near and at schools to prevent attacks.
Beijing, however, needed several thousands more security guards for its remaining 4,500 kindergartens, primary and high schools, he said.