Police shot dead four attackers and arrested one after knife-wielding "terrorists" launched an attack at a crowded train station in Kunming, China's Yunnan province.
State news agency Xinhua reported that about five others were on the run, after one of the worst attacks of its kind in China in recent memory.
"This brutal attack on defenceless, innocent people by violent terrorists devoid of conscience exposes their inhuman and anti-social nature," Xinhua quoted security chief Meng Jianzhu as saying.
"They inevitably will face the severe punishment of the law. We must mobilize all resources and adopt all means to break this case," Meng said, echoing comments made by Chinese President Xi Jinping.