China says 23 children sickened in suspected poisoning

BEIJING (AP) - Authorities in eastern China say 23 kindergarteners were sickened in a suspected act of deliberate poisoning by their teacher.

Police in the city of Jiaozuo said Tuesday that a teacher identified by the surname Wang is believed to have adulterated the children's food with sodium nitrite and has been arrested.

Overexposure to sodium nitrite can be toxic and possibly fatal. Police said they were still looking for a motive in last week's incident.

Schoolchildren in China have been the target of often fatal attacks by people bearing grudges or considered mentally ill.

In 2002, 42 people, mostly schoolchildren, died after eating snacks laced with rat poison in the eastern city of Nanjing. The killer was swiftly sentenced to death and executed.