A female kindergarten teacher was sentenced to three years in jail in southwest China on Wednesday for stabbing more than 60 children with an empty syringe to discipline them, state media reported.

The woman, Sun Qiqi, pleaded guilty to charges of "jeopardizing public safety" for punishing 63 "disobedient" children at a privately-run kindergarten in Yunnan province, Xinhua news agency said.

Earlier reports said Sun, in her mid-20s, had said she was overwhelmed by the number of children in her care.

The courts said the assaults created panic among the preschoolers and their parents, but rejected claims lodged by the parents for $264,000 in compensation, Xinhua said.

It also threw out a suit against the managers of the kindergarten.

All the victims, aged from three to five, tested negative for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV in subsequent health checks.

Psychologists determined that Sun suffered from a personality disorder, but should be held responsible for her actions, Xinhua said.