Knife-Wielding Attackers Wound Six at South China Rail Station

Three men wielding knives wounded six people in an attack at a train station in southern China today, the Xinhua News Agency said, the latest in a string of violent incidents at railway stations in the country this year.

The group started their assault at about 11:30 a.m. in a square outside the station in Guangzhou, Xinhua reported, citing a witness identified by the surname Chen. Police shot and captured one attacker and are hunting the others, according to the report. Four of the six wounded people didn’t sustain life-threatening injuries, Xinhua said, without giving the status of the others.

Three people were killed and 79 hurt a week ago when attackers slashed travelers with knives and set off explosives at a train station in Urumqi, capital of the western province of Xinjiang that’s been the scene violent clashes between ethnic Uighurs and Han Chinese. China has blamed Uighur separatists seeking an independent state for the Urumqi attack and a March assault at a station in the southwestern city of Kunming that killed 29.

Xinhua’s report on today’s incident didn’t attribute the attack to any group or give a possible motive. Guangzhou is the capital of Guangdong, which has China’s largest provincial economy.

A photograph published on the official microblog of the Guangzhou Daily newspaper showed a policeman holding a long staff and guarding a cordoned-off section of the square that was the scene of today’s attack, while paramedics tended to a wounded person next to an ambulance. Another picture showed parts of the square stained with blood.

Horror, Outrage

“My reaction to the knife attack in Guangzhou is one of horror, outrage and sympathy,” U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel told reporters today at a briefing in Hong Kong, which borders Guangdong province. “We are appalled at the action and categorically condemn the attack against innocent civilians.”

The assault in Urumqi came hours after Chinese President Xi Jinping wrapped up a four-day visit to Xinjiang that focused on security. After the attack, Xi vowed to combat “violence and terrorism” without “a moment of slackness.”

The March 1 knife assault at Kunming’s train station occurred days before the annual full sessions of China’s legislature in Beijing, when the government unveils objectives and its budget for the coming year.

— With assistance by Daryl Loo

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