Chinese police say they fatally shot an ethnic Uighur man after he tried to attack travelers at a train station with a cement block.

Railway police in the northern city of Xi'an said a police officer repeatedly warned the man before shooting him as he attacked travelers buying tickets at the city's railway station at about 6 a.m. Wednesday.

A brief message on the force's microblog said the man died in hospital from his injuries and that normal order had been restored at the station.

Ethnic tensions between the Muslim Uighur minority and China's Han majority have periodically erupted into violence in recent years, leaving hundreds dead. Last year, a group of Uighurs armed with knives killed 31 people at a train station in the southwestern city of Kunming.