China

'Deadly blasts' in China's restive Xinjiang region

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Media captionBeijing blames Uighur separatists for the violence, says the BBC's Martin Patience in Beijing

Two people have been killed and others hurt in a series of blasts in China's Xinjiang region, Chinese media say.

A local Communist Party news site said the blasts took place on Sunday in at least three locations in Luntai county.

Xinjiang has seen rising tensions between the local Muslim Uighur population and Han Chinese settlers.

Violence has increased in recent months, with deadly attacks on civilians in Urumqi and the southern city of Kunming.

In July, dozens were killed and injured in violence at police and government buildings near the city of Kashgar.

Two days later, the imam of a mosque in Kashgar, the largest mosque in China, was killed in an apparent targeted attack.

'Order restored'

The Tianshan news portal said the latest explosions hit around 17:00 local time on Sunday (09:00 GMT).

The site said injured people had been taken to hospital and "local social order" had been restored, without giving further details.

Earlier on Sunday, state media had reported that 17 police officers and officials had been punished over the two incidents in July, though did not specify how.

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Image caption Uighur academic Ilham Tohti is awaiting a verdict in his trial for separatism

The July violence near Kashgar, in Yarkant county, left 96 people dead, state media said.

State media say police shot 59 attackers after an armed group stormed government offices, killing 37 civilians. Activists say police opened fire on people protesting against a Ramadan crackdown on Muslims.

China blames the unrest on Uighur separatists inspired by overseas terror groups, but activists say Beijing's repressive policies in the region are fuelling violence.

Earlier this month, a prominent Uighur academic who had been critical of Beijing's policies in Xinjiang went on trial accused of separatism.

Mr Tohti, who denies the charges, was detained in January. He had condemned the government's response to a suicide attack in Beijing's Tiananmen Square carried out by three Uighurs last year.

His two-day trial finished last week and the verdict is expected to be delivered soon.

The United Nations, the EU and US have all called for his release.

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