Knife stab
According to reports, two of the school children suffered serious injuries but not life threatening Ian Waldie/Getty

A man stabbed 10 primary school children before killing himself in the southern Chinese province of Hainan on 29 February. The attacker, known as Li Xijun, 42, stabbed six boys and four girls outside the gate of Yangfan Primary School, an elementary school located in the city of Haikou.

According to state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV), the incident occurred at about 11am local time after which the children were taken to hospital. Two of the children suffered serious injuries but not life threatening, it reported.

The children were about to be released from lunch when the man approached them outside the school gate, South China Morning Post cited witnesses as saying. A clinic owner said the children were about eight years old and all suffered head injuries, it reported.

Police said the "vicious attack" was "brought on by extreme actions". Police have declined to give any further details but said they are investigating the case.

Knife attacks in China had declined after a spurt of attack on school children five years ago. The attacks, which were mostly carried out by mentally disturbed individuals, had lead to the tightening of security at school at the behest of worried parents.

In March 2010, an unemployed middle-aged doctor killed eight children with a knife in Fujian province. He carried out the attack because of his failed relationship with his lover. Five months later, a man stabbed two students by breaking into a middle school in Nanchang city in southern Jiangxi Province. In 2010, nearly 20 children were killed and more than 50 injured in knife related crimes.

In December 2012, man with a knife injured 22 children and an adult outside a primary school in Chengping village in central Henan Province. Min Yingjun, 36, was arrested by security guards. Police said there was no the culprit gave no motive for the attack.

According to Reuters, violent crime is a rare occurrence in China compared to that with many other countries. However, in recent years there has been a series of knife and axe attacks that has targeting children, the news agency reported.