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Published: Friday March 14, 2014 MYT 6:40:13 PM
Updated: Friday March 14, 2014 MYT 6:40:13 PM

At least three dead in central China knife incident

Police stand guard at a crime scene after a knifing incident in Changsha, Hunan province, March 14, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer

Police stand guard at a crime scene after a knifing incident in Changsha, Hunan province, March 14, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer

BEIJING (Reuters) - At least three people are dead 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 person, the Changsha Evening News reported on its Twitter-like Sina Weibo microblog. 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.

The official Xinhua news agency said police had cordoned off the site near a food market and primary school in a north Changsha neighbourhood. Further details were not immediately available.

China is still jittery after a mass stabbing at a Chinese train station in the south-western 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)

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