More than 30 people were injured in the accident, in the city of Lanzhou.
The pile-up occurred on Saturday after a heavy truck lost control and crashed into a line of vehicles waiting at a toll station on the Lanzhou-Haikou Expressway, state-run China Daily reported on Sunday.
At least 14 people were killed and 34 injured in a 31-car highway pile-up in China, authorities say.
Xinhua puts the death toll at 15, with another 44 people injured.More news: Xherdan Shaqiri may miss Liverpool's Belgrade trip
The accidents follow a dramatic bus crash on October 28 in southwestern China that killed 15 people.
The driver, who had never driven on this expressway before, panicked and did not steer away from traffic when his brake failed, according to the authorities.
The day before this tragedy, seven people lost their lives in a traffic accident caused by an out-of-control heavy-duty truck crossing into the opposite lane and hitting oncoming traffic in Yingjing county, Sichuan province.
The Gansu provincial authorities demanded an examination of unsafe sections of expressways across the province. Rescuers pulled all trapped passengers from cars and police were investigating the cause of the deadly accident.