A man wielding a knife went on a stabbing spree south of the Tiananmen Square on Thursday evening, killing two people and injuring at least 12.

The stabbing attacks come even as the Chinese government has significantly tightened security in the nation’s capital with less than two weeks to go before the People’s Republic of China marks its sixtieth anniversary.

China’s State-run Xinhua agency reported that the stabbing attacks took place in a crowded shopping area called Dashilan, which lies to the south of Tiananmen Square. It reported two security guards had been stabbed to death, and 12 were injured.

Officials said the suspect had been caught by a police patrol on the spot. No further information was released.

Beijing’s famous square is the most heavily guarded area in the city, and will be the centre of the country’s attention on October 1 when President Hu Jintao addresses the nation during its National Day parade.

Recent weeks have seen a spate of syringe stabbing attacks in China’s far west Muslim majority region of Xinjiang, which has seen simmering ethnic tensions between native Uighurs and China’s majority Han Chinese ethnic group.

Some news outlets initially reported that a Uighur man had been arrested in connection with Thursday’s incident. But official media reported the suspect, Zhang Jianfei hailed from China’s northeastern Jilin province and was Han Chinese.

In the lead up to October 1, the Chinese government has already imposed security restrictions in many parts of Beijing. Officials said they would further strengthen security after Thursday’s attack.

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