At least five people have been killed and dozens injured in the incident on Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China, the site of pro-democracy protests bloodily suppressed by the military in 1989 .

A car ploughed into pedestrians and caught fire.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying was asked whether the government believed the incident was a terror attack.

Ms Chunying said she did not know the specifics of the case and declined further comment.

Chinese police said on their official microblog that the car veered off the road at the north of the square, a major tourist attraction, crossed the barriers and caught fire.

The three people in the car died, they said. 

The Beijing city government said on one of its official news websites that a female tourist from the Philippines and a male tourist from southern Guangdong province had also died.

Of the 38 injured, three were tourists from the Philippines and one from Japan, it added.

The injured received treatment in three different hospitals, Hong Kong's Cable TV reported.

Mobile video footage showed dozens of policemen guarding Beijing Puren Hospital's entrance and corridors today, as one injured man was rushed through by medical staff.

The car crashed almost directly in front of the main entrance of the Forbidden City.