BEIJING (Reuters) - At least six people died after a knifing incident in central China’s Changsha city, state media reported on Friday, in what appeared to be a dispute involving market vendors from the restive far western region of Xinjiang.
Police shot dead one assailant, the official Xinhua news agency said. Unverified photos circulating online showed several bodies on the street and police taking a suspect into custody.
One suspect in the incident worked as a bread vendor and was involved in an argument with a customer, traffic radio in Hunan province said on its official Weibo microblog, citing the Changsha police.
Xinhua said a knife fight broke out between businessmen Hebir Turdi and Memet Abla - whose names suggest they are ethnic Uighurs from Xinjiang - at a market mid-morning.
“Abla was hacked to death by Turdi, who later stabbed four passers-by as he ran away. Police shot Turdi, killing him. Two of the passers-by died at the scene. The two others died in hospital,” the agency added.
China is still jittery after a mass stabbing at a train station in its southwestern city of Kunming two weeks ago in which 29 people were killed and about 140 wounded.
The government blamed that attack on militants from Xinjiang, home to a large Muslim Uighur minority.
Beijing has not explicitly accused Uighurs of carrying out the Kunming attack, but by calling the perpetrators Xinjiang extremists the implication is clear.
Many Uighurs say they are infuriated by Chinese curbs on their culture and religion, although the government says they are given wide freedoms.
Reporting by Ben Blanchard, Li Hui, and Sui-Lee Wee, Writing by Michael Martina; Editing by Paul Tait and Clarence Fernandez