China knife attack: 2 dead, 18 injured in stabbing spree

A man said to be mentally ill attacked 20 people with a knife in southwest China, killing two, authorities said.

The suspect, identified as Chen Guangliang, 30, was detained following Sunday afternoon's attack along a roadway in Guizhou province, according to a statement posted on a local government website.

Two of the 20 injured people taken to a hospital died, the Zhenning County public security bureau said. The remaining 18 were in stable condition as of Monday, authorities said.

Chen's father told authorities that his son had a history of mental illness, according to the initial statement.

Prior to the attack, Chen attempted to set fire to a gas station, according to state broadcaster CCTV.

Local and provincial police were investigating and no further details were immediately available.

Several high-profile stabbings over the past decade have been blamed on perpetrators who were reportedly mentally ill, calling attention to the dearth of mental health services in China, particularly in rural areas.

Knives also have been used in attacks in the restive Xinjiang region, where authorities said in February that eight people including three assailants were killed and five injured during a knife attack in Pishan county.

Gun ownership is sharply restricted in China.