Wu Tianhao, who was a senior student at Jilin Provincial Experimental School, went to a local basketball playground with his friends on Saturday afternoon. About an hour later, several students from other schools joined them, including 17-year-old Hao Zhipeng.
The two young men verbally abused each other and soon after began punching each other.
"Hao's eye was injured during the fight, as a result of normal body collisions," said a local publicity official who requested anonymity.
According to Changchun public security bureau, Hao called his parents for help after the fight, and more than 10 people were summoned to the playground soon after Hao's parents rushed to the scene.
"All the people summoned by Hao's parents were in their 20s," said a classmate of Wu's surnamed Wang, who said he witnessed the whole tragedy. "They were all carrying machetes that were about 30 centimeters long."
Wang added that other boys ran away when they heard that Hao's parents were coming, but Wu, who believed that they were coming to solve the dispute, left it too late to get away.
When Wu arrived at hospital around 7 pm, his left hand was only connected to his arm by a little skin, and his right hand was also severely injured. He also had at least 10 wounds on his head.
At 6 am the next day, surgery to repair Wu's hands finished. Half an hour later he suddenly began having difficulty breathing, and at about 10 am he was declared dead.
"It haunts me that Du Xiajuan, Hao's mother, showed off her wealth in the hospital and told us to ask for 'as much money' as we wanted," Kang Kai, one of Wu's relatives, said on her micro blog.
She also said that she felt extremely angry after learning that while Wu was being beaten, Hao's father, who allegedly runs a coal mine, said to the dying boy that "my family is very rich and I can beat you to death".
Police said on Wednesday evening that more than 200 officers are pursuing the suspects. Seventeen people have been detained, police said.