A man has fatally stabbed four students as they were walking to their elementary school in China's southern province of Guanx, officials said.

The Lingshan county government said on its website on Friday that three children were killed instantly and one died in a hospital.

Officials said police were searching for 56-year-old suspect who attacked the children from a motorcycle, but gave no other details.

China, where firearms are difficult to obtain, has seen many high-profile slashing attacks targeting schools over the past 10 years, prompting waves of tightened security but little in the way of lasting policy changes.

Some cities, including Beijing, require ID and registration for the purchase of some kinds of knives.

Earlier this month, an attacker killed three students in a knife attack at a school in Hubei province.

In another incident in May 2010, an attacker hacked seven children and one teacher to death and wounded 20 other people in a rampage at a kindergarten in northwest China, which at the time was the fifth in a string of savage assaults at the country's schools in three months.

Many of the attacks have been carried out by adults with no connection to the schools, with authorities saying the assailants suffered from mental illness or were lashing out at society because of some personal grudge.

Source: Agencies