A man armed with a knife has broken into a high school in central China and stabbed eight boys to death as they slept in a dormitory.
The attacks are stoking public anger
The attack in the city of Ruzhou, in Henan province, also left four pupils injured, two of them seriously.
The official Xinhua news agency said the man escaped and was still at large.
There has been a spate of stabbings in Chinese schools in recent months. In September, 24 children were injured in a knife attack in Shandong.
The man responsible for that attack was executed on Wednesday. The court said his actions had been "especially cruel".
STRING OF ATTACKS
September - man knifes 28 children in day care centre in Suzhou
September - man knifes 24 children at school in Shandong
August - 15 children and 3 teachers knifed in Beijing kindergarten, by man with history of mental illness. One child died
In the latest incident - the sixth in four months - a man, believed to be alone, got into the Number 2 High School in the city of
Ruzhou and stabbed the victims in their beds.
"The man broke into the high school with a knife in his hand
at 2345 (local time) Thursday and chopped eight people to
death and four others to injury," according to China's Xinhua news agency.
A government official told AFP that those killed were all in the lower beds of bunk beds, and had been sleeping in at least three separate dormitories.
The recent wave of violence in schools had already provoked public anger, reports the BBC's Louisa Lim in Beijing.
Now Chinese citizens are asking how such an attack can have happened again.
Kindergartens were ordered to overhaul their security and check the qualifications of their staff after a caretaker with a history of mental illness stabbed 15 children in August, killing one.
Worried by the violence, schools in the capital, Beijing, and other regions have begun employing professional guards to protect students, Xinhua reported.