A train travelling from Beijing to the summer resort of Qingdao reportedly derailed and hit the other, which was going from Yantai to Xuzhou.
Ten carriages of the Beijing train then toppled into a ditch after the crash outside Zibo city in Shandong province.
Among the injured passengers were four French nationals, all of whom have been hospitalised with bone fractures, and one was seriously injured, a spokesman with the provincial foreign affairs office said.
This is the second major railway accident to take place in Shandong this year.
In January, a high-speed train from Beijing to Qingdao ran down a group of railway workers, with official state media reports claiming 18 were killed and nine others injured.
The workers were relocating the tracks when the train ran into the work site in Anqiu City.