19 Aug 2010

Explosion kills 7 in western China

9:17 pm on 19 August 2010

Seven people have been killed and 14 injured in a bomb blast in China's Xinjiang region.

The explosion happened in Aksu city in the west of the remote western region, the BBC reports.

Local government spokeswoman Hou Hanmin said a Uighur man drove a three-wheeled vehicle carrying an explosive device into a crowd.

The man was arrested at the scene and investigations are continuing. Four of those hurt had suffered serious injuries, she said.

Last year deadly ethnic riots erupted in Xinjiang after tensions flared between the Muslim Uighur minority and the Han Chinese.

There have also been a number of blasts in Xinjiang in the past, which the government blames on Uighur separatists.

Chinese authorities say a small group of militants are behind attacks in Xinjiang.

But Uighur activists and human rights groups accuse Beijing of using the issue to crack down on Uighur dissidents, who have complained that waves of Han Chinese migrants are undermining their culture.