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Separatists from China's northwest region of Xinjiang have been blamed by local government for a mass stabbing attack which left 28 dead at a train station.
It said evidence from the scene of the attack late Saturday in Kunming by a group of knife-wielding people pointed to separatists from Xinjiang, a vast region home to the mostly-Muslim Uighur minority.
Victims described attackers dressed in black bursting into the station in the southwestern province of Yunnan and slashing indiscriminately.
The attack left at least 29 dead and more than 130 wounded, Xinhua said, citing local authorities.
Police shot dead at least four attackers, it said in an earlier report.
Xinjiang is periodically hit by violent clashes between locals and security forces but such attacks are rare elsewhere in China.
Beijing maintains that unrest in Xinjiang is caused by terrorist groups seeking an independent state, an account denied by Uighur rights groups who complain of widespread religious repression and economic discrimination.
President Xi Jinping called for "all-out efforts" in the investigation and for the attackers to be punished "in accordance with the law", Xinhua said.
Beijing's top security official Meng Jianzhu arrived in Kunming early Sunday and visited the scene of the attack, which came days before the opening of the annual session of the legislature, the National People's Congress, Xinhua reported.
A knife victim named Yang Haifei, who was wounded in the chest and back, told Xinhua that he had been buying a train ticket when the attackers approached.
"I saw a person come straight at me with a long knife and I ran away with everyone," he said, while others "simply fell on the ground".
Some who managed to escape were desperately looking for missing loved ones.
This article first appeared on www.sbs.com.au
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