KUNMING - Twenty-nine civilians were confirmed dead and more than 130 others injured Saturday in a railway station attack in Southwest Chinese city of Kunming, authorities said.
Police have shot dead at least four attackers whose identities are yet to be confirmed and are hunting for the rest.
It was an organized, premeditated violent terrorist attack, according to the authorities.
Chinese president Xi Jinping has urged the law enforcement to investigate and solve the case of Kunming terrorist attack with all-out efforts and punish the terrorists in accordance with the law.
More than 10 terrorist suspects attacked people at the square and ticket hall of Kunming Railway Station at 9:20 p.m. Saturday, killing at least 28 civilians and injuring 113 others.
Xi stressed the careful rescue and treatment of the injured civilians and proper handling of the dead.
He called for full awareness of the grave and complicated situation of anti-terrorism and effective measures to crack down violent terrorist activities in all forms.
Xi has assigned officials, including Meng Jianzhu, head of the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, and member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, and Guo Shengkun, Chinese state councilor and minister of public security, to go to Yunnan to guide work and visit injured civilians and relatives of the victims.
Premier Li Keqiang asked relevant departments to catch and punish the terrorists, and public security departments at all levels to strengthen prevention and control measures to guarantee the safety of public places.
A Xinhua reporter on the spot said that injured people have been rushed to more than 10 local hospitals for treatment.
A doctor with the Kunming No.1 People's Hospital told Xinhua over the phone that medical workers of the hospital are busy treating the injured.
According to Xinhua reporters at the hospital, a dozen of bodies were seen at the hospital. As of 0:00 a.m. Sunday, more than 60 victims in the attack have been sent to the hospital, emergency registration records showed.
Liu Chen, a 19-year-old student from Wuhan City of central China's Hubei Province, was traveling in Yunnan. Liu and her friend were at the station for tickets to the tourism city of Lijiang when the attack suddenly happened.
"At first I thought it was just someone fighting, but then I saw blood and heard people scream, and I just ran," Liu said.
Chen Guizhen, a 50-year-old woman, told Xinhua at the hospital that her husband Xiong Wenguang, 59, was killed in the attack.
"Why are the terrorists so cruel? " moaned Chen, holding her husband's blood-stained ID card in shaking hands.
The couple, both farmers from the Chuxiong Yi Autonomous Prefecture, bought Sunday tickets to the eastern province of Zhejiang for their new urban jobs and planned to stay over in the waiting room.
"I found his ID card on his body. I can't believe he has just left me," she cried.
Yang Haifei, a local resident of Yunnan, told Xinhua that he was attacked and sustained injuries on his chest and back.
Yang said he was buying a ticket when he saw a group of people rush into the station, most of them in black, and start attacking others.
"I saw a person come straight at me with a long knife and I ran away with everyone," he said, adding that people who were slower were severely injured.
"They just fell on the ground," he said.
At the guard pavilion in front of the station, three victims were crying. One of them named Yang Ziqing told Xinhua that they were waiting in the station square for a 10:50 p.m. train to Shanghai, but had to escape when a knife-wielding man suddenly came at them.
"My two town-fellows' husbands have been rushed to hospital, but I can't find my husband, and his phone went unanswered," Yang sobbed.
Pictures on Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, show local police patrolling the station. Bodies in blood can be spotted on the ground in the pictures. Doctors were seen transporting injured people to a local hospital.
A Weibo user screen-named "HuangY3xin-Dione," who was dining in a restaurant near the railway station, said that she was "scared to death," adding that she saw a group of men in black with two long knives chasing people.
According to Kunming railway bureau, train departures have not been affected.
The incident has fueled massive anger among the people across China, with netizens severely condemning the violent attacks on social websites like Sina Weibo and WeChat, a popular instant messaging service.
The attacks at the station might have created blood and violence, but it has also awakened a strong sense of justice and strength among us. We strongly condemn violence, and we call on people to stop circulating bloody pictures, read a message on WeChat.
On Sina Weibo, netizens are spreading the word of stopping the circulation of bloody photos on the Internet.
"Stop publishing bloody photos, because that's just what the thugs want," a Weibo user with the screenname "Fuzhaolouzhu" wrote on her Weibo account.
Another Weibo user screennamed "CakeryCupcakes" said she hopes mainstream media could provide immediate and transparent report.
The security management bureau under the Ministry of Public Security called the incident a "severe violent crime" at its official Sina Weibo account.
Now, the situation is gradually going stable, and the injured have been treated, while police are investigating the case, it said.
"No matter what motives the murderers hold, the killing of innocent people is against kindness and justice. The police will crack down the crimes in accordance with the law without any tolerance. May the dead rest in peace," it read.
Zhang Yumin, 59, a retired cashier from Beijing, is flying to Kunming on Sunday morning with her husband for a sight-seeing tour. She said she will not change her schedule despite the attacks.
The Kunming Railway Station, located in the downtown area of the city, is one of the largest railway stations in southwest China. It was put into operation in 1958.
The latest violent terrorist attack that caused most civilian deaths happened in June last year in Lukqun Township of Turpan Prefecture in farwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
A total of 24 people were killed and 23 others were injured in the attack.
On October 28 last year, a jeep crashed at downtown Beijing's Tian'anmen Square, causing five deaths and 40 injuries. Police found gasoline, two knives and steel sticks as well as a flag with extremist religious content in the jeep.
The police later identified the deadly crash as a violent terrorist attack.