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Four people were wounded in a stabbing at a major Shanghai hospital on Saturday morning, local police said, before the knife-wielding attacker was shot and subdued by officers.

Huangpu district police said on social media that they received emergency reports at 11:30am on Saturday of a stabbing at downtown Ruijin hospital.

“The police quickly arri­ved on the scene and discovered a man holding a group of people hostage with a knife on the hospital’s seventh floor,” the statement said.

“When the suspect intended to injure the hostages and punish the police, the police decisively fired a shot to injure and subdue him.” Four members of the public were being treated for wounds and are “not in a life-threatening condition”, the statement added. At present, the attacker’s motive remains unclear.

Chinese media published videos showing armed police officers attempting to break into a locked room in the hospital. Another heavily circulated social media video showed over a dozen distressed members of the public running out of the building.

Mass violent crime is rare in China, which strictly prohibits citizens from owning firearms, but knife attacks do happen occasionally.

Last month, a 23-year-old man in the eastern city of Ningbo died after being violently stabbed on the street in broad daylight.

Video of the attack near a bus stop went viral on social media.

In recent years, a string of fatal knife attacks targeting kindergarten and school students have occurred nationwide, carried out by people reportedly wishing to wreak revenge on society.

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