Seven Killed in Knife Attack at Chinese Military Hospital

November 20, 2014 Updated: November 21, 2014

A 27-year-old man attacked staff at a military hospital in northern China’s Hebei Province on Nov. 20, leaving six nurses and one administrator dead, as reported by local authorities and state media.

According to police, the suspect, Li Xiaolong, was arrested shortly after the attack, which took place in the women’s dormitory of the hospital. Li had used a knife to stab eight victims, seven of whom died from their wounds. Li, who worked as a chef in the hospital, knew how to handle a knife. The frenized attack left the victims’ bodies badly mutilated. Rather than flee, Li returned to his dorm room after the slaughter.

In addition to the brutal nature of the incident, netizens noted that Li shares the same Chinese name as Bruce Lee, the legendary martial arts master from Hong Kong.

The People’s Liberation Army Hospital 281, the site of the killings, is located in the seaside resort town of Beihaide, in the Qinghuangdao area. In an online statement made by the Qinhuangdao City Public Security Bureau, Li was said to have a history of mental illness.

There seemed to be no prior conflict between Li and the victims, the statement added.

In recent years, violence in China’s hospitals has risen, reflecting the state of the country’s healthcare system. Patients are often unsatisfied with treatment and service, and settling disputes is difficult. In 2012, according to a survey from the Chinese Hospital Association, the average Chinese hospital was the site of 27.3 violent incidents, up from 2008 the average of 20.6.

Medical staff have even been given martial arts training to defend themselves against angry patients

The Chinese authorities maintain strict control over the distribution of firearms, but that doesn’t stop many from carrying out their attacks with knives. In 2010 alone, four knife attacks targeting schools and preschools killed 21 people, most of them children.