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Knife Rampage in Chongqing, Southwestern China Subdued by Crowd

The violent incident prompted online discussion about rising economic and social problems in China
Leo Timm
Leo Timm covers China-related news, culture, and history. Follow him on Twitter at @kunlunpeaks
Published: April 3, 2023
A man commits an indiscriminate knife attack in Jiangbei district of Chongqing, China on April 2, 2023. (Image: Screenshot via Twitter)

A street in the southwestern Chinese city of Chongqing was shaken by a middle-aged man indiscriminately hacking at pedestrians with a cleaver in the evening of Sunday, April 2 around 8:40 p.m.

The perpetrator was seen on video attacking anyone he could see in the vicinity of Guanyin Bridge, located in the Jiangbei district. Various men can be seen fighting and beating him, including one wielding a wooden bench.

Local police later identified the man as being a 46-year-old resident of Yubei District, surnamed Gan. The police said that Gan was “under control” while he and his victims were being treated for their injuries. No deaths were reported.

Chongqing is a megacity of around 30 million on the eastern border of Sichuan Province, and one of the four directly administered provincial-level municipalities in China.

While no motive for the April 2 attack is known, Twitter users posting in Chinese condemned the assailant and talked about the economic and social crises impacting the country in recent years.

One user wrote: “The anger of a brave man is expressed in turning the blade towards those more powerful than himself; a coward just directs his rage towards the weak! You should take revenge on those who deprive you of your livelihood, not innocent people on the street!”

Passersby subdue the man who committed an indiscriminate knife attack in Jiangbei district of Chongqing, China on April 2, 2023. (Image: Screenshot via Twitter)

“With the economy crumbling and the unemployment rate shooting up, those at the bottom rung of society have no way out, these people are [now] attacking each other, and the number of revenge-on-society attacks will rise higher and higher! People behind the wall [i.e. in China] should be prepared for ‘even better’ days to come!” one user using the name “Voice from Inside the Wall” wrote in response to the video from Chongqing.

The sentiment was echoed by another user who wrote: “It’ll just get worse and worse. Think about those people who can’t even find work as food delivery drivers.”

One reply jokingly compares the incident with the shocking scenes from Tangshan in June 2022, when four young women were viciously beaten by thugs at a restaurant in the northern Chinese city.

“Earlier, someone said that if the Tangshan incident happened in Chongqing, it would definitely be stopped by bystanders. Here is the evidence.”