A convicted criminal who took 50 elementary school students and a teacher hostage was shot and killed by police in Hubei province yesterday, public security officials said.
Officers on the scene searched the school in Qianjiang for explosives that might have been hidden by the suspect, the local public security bureau said on its microblog.
State media reports identified Zhang Zeqing, a former convict who served prison time for robbery and gun-making, as the hostage-taker shot by police.
Zhang reportedly agreed to exchange the students and teacher for the deputy mayor of the nearby town of Haokou, but was shot after he poured gasoline on the official.
No motive for the attack has been given. Police said they had no additional details. There was no mention of injuries to hostages or the condition of the deputy mayor. State media said Zhang had a knife and some type of explosive.
China has suffered a spate of school attacks in recent years, most linked to people with mental illnesses and those bearing grudges.
In March 2010, eight children were killed and five injured when they were slashed by a man outside a primary school in Nanping, Fujian province.
In March last year, a man killed two of his relatives and injured 11 people including six children with a knife outside a school in Shanghai. Security has been increased at many of the city's schools.