A stunning story out of the English-language press yesterday about the abduction and murder of a 15-year old boy here by his classmates.

Apparently, he was the son of a local businessman and the classmates intended to hold the youth for ransom. The Guardian has a fairly comprehensive story here.

There is nothing particularly Shantou-related about the crime; it could have happened anywhere, it seems to me. A source in the Guardian story seems to imply that tTV and crime films are to blame, and that the situation in Guangdong is worse than elsewhere.

But something about this crime reminds me of another shocker a few years back, the story of Ma Jia Jue. That brutal killing took place in Yunnan. Ma was a Yunnan University student who murdered several of his classmates, ostensibly over losing a card game. A bit like the Virginia Tech killings or Columbine killers, Ma had been mentally unstable for some time before he finally cracked.

These horrible crimes can happen anywhere — we’re all too familiar with them in the U.S. In China, the greatest shock may be to realize they can happen here as well. If anything good comes out of it, it may be a public discussion about the event, such as the debate that occurred after the Yunnan University incident.

That is, if anyone hears about it: Is this being reported in the Chinese media? I certainly hope so. To sweep the bad stuff like this under the rug and pretend it isn’t there contributes to a kind of pyschological timebomb on on a societal scale.