Connect with us

Politics & Security

Two Deadly Mass Killings in Four Days: Has China Entered a New Era of Social Disorder?

The mass killings in China may be a precursor to further social unrest, fueled by growing distrust in the judiciary and frustration with the status quo.



Zhaike Village in Shandong Province, where a mass killing is reported to have occurred. The area was still heavily guarded by plain cloth officers several days after the incident. (Image from social media)

Only four days into Chinese New Year, two of the deadliest mass killings since the founding of the People's Republic of China have occurred. While the public was extremely shocked, the authorities have been controlling the information disseminated in the tightest possible way. 

In the meantime, people are asking: Has China entered a new era of great social disorder induced by economic woes and political frustration?

The first instance happened overnight as the morning of the Chinese New Year opened on February 10, heralding the Year of Dragon. It was an incident in Zhaike Village, Ju County, Rizhao City in Shandong Province. Under the cover of firecrackers, the murderer(s) eliminated 16-21 people from 5 or 7 families with knives and homemade guns. 


When the shocking information was first spread on Chinese social media, there were at least five different accounts. These included a claim that the mass killing was perpetrated by a former police officer. Some asserted that the perpetrator was a villager seeking revenge against those who had bullied and wronged him. Others suggested that the culprits were a group of individuals purporting to belong to an organization known as the 'Revolutionary Freedom Army" which vows to overthrow the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

After several days, the narrative gradually "settled" down to the conclusion that the murderer was an upset villager who had spent 5 or 8 years in prison. As to the reason why he ended up in prison, there are still two versions of accounts. 

One was that he found out his wife was having an affair with someone in the village. He went to settle the score with that man but got his leg broken instead. As a result, he became permanently disabled. He was then imprisoned because the other man was more powerful and had better connections. 

On Feb 10, a mass killing happened in Zhaike Village in Shandong Province. The area was cordoned off. (Screenshot from social media video.)

Another version was that he had been disabled since childhood, and he was imprisoned for rape. Seven families in the village had long been mocking him, and they kept bullying him incessantly. He held a grudge against these seven families. So he wanted revenge. 

It was said that two police officers and one doctor who arrived at the scene in an ambulance were also killed. 


The second instance happened on February 13 in Xingtai City, Hebei Province.

Second Mass Killing

Video footage shows that massive explosions occurred in a residential area. The front door on the ground floor of a building was completely blown apart. 

Additionally, the doors and windows on the first and second floors of a white building facing the street were all blown out. A balcony on the second floor was also destroyed, and debris was thrown across the street. Windows on the third floor and above were shattered, with some steel windows twisted and deformed. 

A nearby two-story steel structure was also severely damaged. Its outer steel walls were bent and detached, with anti-theft windows fallen on the ground and railings collapsed. The brick wall between the two buildings had collapsed, and the ground was littered with broken bricks. 

Despite such powerful explosions, the authorities initially claimed that only three people died. Then, they stopped talking about it at all. 

However, nobody believed in this number. Initially, it was said that at least 16 were killed and more than 30 were wounded. Later, there were also claims that the death toll was as high as 108.

The Perpetrator

The explosion was said to have been remotely detonated by a bankrupt businessman. He allegedly wanted to take revenge on some retired officials living in the building who were his enemies. Up to now, this businessman has still not been caught. It is not clear what exactly happened between the businessman and the officials he wanted to kill. 

The explosives used were TNT, as well as Hexogen, or cyclone, which is 1.5 times more powerful than TNT. Reports said the perpetrator purchased them from a local mine. 

"Emergency Notification on the Establishment of a Daily Reporting System for Risks and Hazards of Social Conflicts." It was issued by Rizhao Municipal Chinese Communist Party Committee of Political and Legal Affairs on February 11, 2024.

Government's Response

The day after the mass murder case in Shandong Province, the city of Rizhao issued an official document calling for a "focused investigation of risks and dangers that could trigger extreme cases/events." It specifically identifies 16 categories of people to be watched and investigated. 

Among the categories are people who have encountered problems or crises in the following sectors: real estate, medical disputes, and labor disputes. Others include people involved in marital and neighborhood disputes, people who have petitioned, and people who have failed in investments. 

The document also mentions people who are unemployed, who encountered difficulties in their lives, who have emotional issues, disharmony in their relationships, mental imbalance, or mental disorders. Furthermore, it mentions young people lacking parental care or guardianship, individuals with violent tendencies who threaten retaliation against society, or those likely to instigate violent conflicts, etc.

Third Murder Incident

In the meantime, all information about this case, even the names of Ju County and Zhaike Village were strictly banned on the Chinese internet. When people search for these words, hardly any relevant information is displayed.

Netizens who mentioned these names, even in unrelated issues, soon received a call from the police. They were ordered to delete their posts immediately. 

As a matter of fact, more terrible cases keep happening. 

On February 17, another mass murder happened in Xinming Village in Quanzhou City, Fujian Province. A man who just finished serving his sentence killed a woman's entire family. This included her parents, her grandmother, and her brother. The woman herself was not at home, so she was spared.

On February 17, a mass murder happened in Xinming Village in Quanzhou City, Fujian Province. (Image from social media)

It was said that the man was engaged to the woman. He had allegedly paid more than ¥100,000 RMB (around $13,900 USD) to the woman as a bride price. But the woman later regretted the marriage. However, not only did she refuse to return the dowry, but she also accused the man of rape. This resulted in his imprisonment. After being released from prison, the man felt very aggrieved. 

A Dismembered Body in Beijing

Another very shocking and unprecedented event happened in Beijing. On February 20, dismembered remains were spotted near Liuli Bridge (六里桥) on Beijing's famous 3rd Ring Road. This location is only about six miles from Tiananmen Square. 

Such an astonishing event was never heard of in Beijing, the most guarded place in China. Up to now, apart from a few photos and videos uploaded to Chinese social media, there is no official news whatsoever about this event. So no one knows what happened to cause someone to abandon a dismembered body on a busy Beijing highway after a brutal killing.


While these deadliest attacks shocked the country, people have seen some common elements in them. Civilians no longer believe in judicial impartiality and have chosen to enforce the law on their own. At the same time, excessive grievances and cruelty have been vented on other innocent people. China is no longer the "safest country" in the world as once boasted by the CCP. People no longer feel safe in their own homes.

Mounting Frustration

China's real estate and stock markets are collapsing, the economy is in a serious downward spiral, the unemployment rate is climbing, and people's income is dropping. In such a situation, some people say that China has already entered an era of great turbulence. 

Perhaps more than 30% or more of the population falls into the 16 categories of people mentioned in the document issued by Rizhao City. How can the CCP police implement close surveillance and control of all these people?

Some people say that there will be more and more violent cases in China due to the following three reasons:

  1. People are no longer that afraid of the CCP. The public has made the transition from "disbelief" to "fearlessness" towards the CCP. So it will be much harder for the CCP to control the general population.
  2. Many people have lost hope in the future, and some of them have a hard time making a living. When they are desperate, people will dare to do anything.
  3. People are longing for change. "To change the status quo" has rapidly risen to become the first desire in the hearts of the people. However, as the suffering deepens, this strong desire is transforming into a wish to "overthrow the tyranny of the CCP."

Distrust in the Judiciary

But in the meantime, there is another cruel reality. Longing for change may not necessarily bring about positive changes. Since the CCP gained power in China, it has been brainwashing people with atheism and "philosophy of struggle" for decades.

That is, when people no longer believe in the judicial system and start to take things into their own hands, some of them could choose to respond to violence with violence. Some may choose to respond to evil with evil, and to take revenge on society by mass killing. We've already seen this in just four days.

Therefore, at a time when sky-high grievances are spreading all over China, the possibility of preventing the occurrence of the next bloodshed is diminishing. How far will the chaos go? At the moment, no one knows. 


Author: Jennifer Zeng

Find articles by Jennifer Zeng on JAPAN Forward. Follow her on X (formerly Twitter) and on her blog page, Jennifer's World.


Our Partners