Six injured in Chinese train station knife attack

Xi Jinping

China President Xi Jinping

Six people were wounded in a knife attack at a Chinese train station Tuesday, police said, after a string of violent episodes at transport hubs authorities blame on “terrorists” from the restive region of Xinjiang.

Police shot one of the attackers at the train station in the southern metropolis of Guangzhou, the city’s public security bureau said in a statement on its microblog, adding all six injured had been hospitalised.

Four attackers were involved, the People’s Daily newspaper reported on its verified microblog, adding they were wearing white caps and police opened fire on them after they ignored warnings.

China President Xi Jinping
China President Xi Jinping

One of the men died, one was arrested, and two escaped, said the newspaper, the official mouthpiece of the Communist Party.

The incident comes less than a week after a deadly explosion left two attackers and a civilian dead, and 79 people wounded, at a railway station in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, home to the mostly Muslim Uighur minority.

It also follows a March attack at a railway station in the southwestern city of Kunming, in which machete-wielding attackers killed 29 people and wounded 143 in what many in China have dubbed the country’s “9/11”.

Photos of the aftermath of Tuesday’s attack in Guangzhou circulated widely on Chinese social media sites, with many users expressing shock and outrage.

One image on Sina Weibo, a Chinese equivalent of Twitter, showed a man, his shirt stained with blood, being carried from the station by three men as passers-by watched.

Another showed a crowd of hundreds gathered outside the station’s main square, which was cordoned off by police as emergency personnel loaded people into an ambulance.

“Guangzhou has become really unsafe!” one Weibo user wrote. “Next time I see someone wearing a white hat, I’m heading the other way.”

According to the Voice of China radio station, one of the attackers chopped a victim in the neck. At least two of the victims were women, it added.

Mass violent incidents in China are rare but have been on the rise in recent months, with authorities pointing the finger at religious extremists from Xinjiang.

Last week’s attack in Urumqi came as Chinese President Xi Jinping was wrapping up an “inspection tour” of the volatile region, during which he had called for a “strike-first” strategy to fight terrorism.