Calls to the Hengdong county public security bureau rang unanswered while an official who picked up the phone at the county government office would only confirm the death toll before hanging up the phone.
China has experienced violent attacks in public places in recent years, including bombings and arson of buses and buildings, sometimes by people trying to settle personal scores or grievances against society.
Occasionally, the attacks are attributed to militant separatists, though such attacks have become less common in recent years. In 2013, an SUV plowed through a crowd in front of Beijing’s Forbidden City before crashing and catching fire, killing five, including the vehicle’s three occupants. Police blamed the attack on Muslim separatists from the Uighur ethnic minority group.