Updated: 04/30/2014 22:11 | By Agence France-Presse

Blast hits rail station in China's Xinjiang: state media

An explosion hit a railway station in the capital of China's Xinjiang Wednesday, state media reported, the same day that President Xi Jinping ended a visit to the restive region.

Blast hits rail station in China's Xinjiang: state media

Chinese paramilitary police ride in armoured vehicles in Urumqi on June 29, 2013 - by Mark Ralston

The blast occurred at the south railway station in Urumqi, said Xinhua news agency, adding details of any casualties were unknown.

Ambulances and police cars have rushed to the scene, it said, and police have cordoned off all entrances to the station square.

Train services have been suspended at the station, it quoted an officer as saying, while police were evacuating people from nearby areas.

There was no indication of the cause of the explosion. 

The vast and nominally autonomous region of Xinjiang, where mostly Muslim Uighurs are the largest ethnic group, is periodically hit by deadly clashes that authorities blame on terrorists but which rights groups say are driven by cultural repression.

Xi, during a visit which ended Wednesday, called for tougher law enforcement but also for stepped-up assimilation of minorities.

While fighting terrorism, China will deploy a "strike-first" strategy against terrorists in the region to deter enemies and inspire people, Xinhua quoted him as saying.

But he added that Beijing would implement "appropriate policies to improve ethnic harmony and common prosperity of all ethnic groups".

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