Attackers injure six in knife attack at Chinese train station

Assault adds to fears of terror campaign by Islamic militants

In the third such attack since March, an assailant armed with a knife injured at least six people at Guangzhou’s main train station, adding to growing fears of a nationwide terror campaign.

The Public Security Bureau in the southern metropolis said the attack was carried out at about 11.30am yesterday morning by a single attacker, who was shot by police and is being treated in hospital.

"After verbal warnings were ineffective, police fired, hitting one male suspect holding a knife, and subdued him," the Guangzhou police said on their official microblog.

The man was not carrying his identity card and the police did not give a possible motive for the attack.

Despite earlier reports on state media that up to four assailants may have been involved in the latest attack, Guangzhou police said their initial inquiry found there was just a single suspect.

Islamic militants
The attack comes less than a week after a group of what police said were Islamic militants carried out a knife and bomb attack in the capital of Xinjiang, which left three dead and 79 wounded, increasing the death toll to more than 100 in the past year.

The current round of violence linked to separatists in the northwestern province of Xinjiang began when a car drove on to Tiananmen Square in October and burst into flames.

Xinjiang is a resource-rich region on the borders of central Asia, which is home to a largely Muslim ethnic group known as the Uighurs, who feel they are being colonised by Han Chinese.

In 2009, there were riots in the provincial capital Urumqi when local Uighurs turned on Han Chinese, an incident that led to deadly reprisals by Han on Uighurs a few days later.

The legacy of the unrest, which killed nearly 200 people, mostly Han Chinese, and left more than 1,700 wounded, was a heavy security presence in the region.

On March 1st, knife-wielding assailants killed 29 civilians and injured another 143 at the main railway station in the south-western city of Kunming.

Exaggerates threat
Four of the injured, two men and two women, were receiving treatment at the General Hospital of Guangzhou Military Area Command of the People's Liberation Army, the Xinhua news agency reported, and their injuries are not life-threatening.

Earlier eyewitness reports said there were three attackers.

The Chinese government insists it is bringing progress to a backward region and boosting it economically.

China has long claimed militants in the region are trying to introduce an extreme form of Islam, but human rights groups believe Beijing exaggerates the threat to justify harsh controls.

Xinjiang, the largest province in China, accounts for 16 per cent of its land area, but only 2 per cent of the population.