Three children in a kindergarten in a northern Chinese town were killed when the building collapsed, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

The children died on Saturday after they were rushed to a hospital with severe injuries, Xinhua said.

A man who answered the phone at the local county government of Yongqing in Hebei province on Sunday confirmed the three deaths to the Associated Press news agency but declined to give more details or his name.

Xinhua said three other children were injured and the cause of the collapse was under investigation.

State broadcaster China Central Television said police were holding the person in charge of the kindergarten in custody while investigating the cause of the collapse.

Building standards for schoolhouses are lax in China. On Monday, five middle school students in eastern China were killed after a wall along an outdoor basketball court suddenly fell on them.

Shoddy construction also was blamed for the high death toll among schoolchildren in a 2008 earthquake in the southwestern province of Sichuan that left nearly 90,000 people dead or missing.

Source: AP