SHANGHAI - Two people were killed and several more injured in at least three explosions in China's troubled far western region of Xinjiang on Sunday, state media reported, but gave few details.
The blasts came as China punished 17 regional officials and police "for being accountable" for a July 28 attack by masked militants that led to almost 100 deaths of police, officials and civilians, and for the subsequent killing of a pro-Beijing imam.
The government has blamed a surge in violence over the last year in Xinjiang, home to the Muslim Uighur people, on Islamist militants or separatists, who want an independent state called East Turkestan, it says.
State media say hundreds of people have been killed in the past year's violence, including some police.
Tight security makes it difficult for foreign journalists to visit the area, rendering it almost impossible to reach an independent assessment of the situation.
An explosion in Luntai county, on the northern edge of the Taklamakan desert in central Xinjiang, hit a shop in the county seat, while with two more blasts occurred in nearby townships on Sunday, news website www.ts.cn, which is run by the Xinjiang Communist Party committee, said.
The wording of the report suggested there were other explosions but it gave no details.
"At present, all the injured have been sent to hospital for full treatment, local social order is normal, and the cases are being investigated," it said.