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Explosion shakes China train station, state media say

An explosion shook a railway station in China's restive far-western region of Xinjiang, injuring many people as President Xi Jinping wrapped up a four-day visit to the area, state media said Wednesday.

Details and information on casualties were not immediately clear in the blast, which shook the station in the regional capital of Urumqi, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

The Beijing News said more than 50 people were injured.

A woman working at a convenience store near the train station said she heard a loud explosion shortly after 7 p.m.

"The whole area now has been cordoned off by police and military police," said the woman, who spoke by telephone and refused to give her name because of the sensitivity of the issue.

Ethnic tensions have been simmering for years in Xinjiang, the home of the Muslim Uighur minority group. The area has seen a low-intensity insurgency against majority Han rule.

During his visit to the region, President Xi urged government officials to maintain social stability, promote growth, improve living standards and strengthen ethnic unity, according to state media reports.

Beijing accuses the insurgents of inciting animosity, while government critics say restrictive and discriminatory policies have alienated the Uighurs.

In 2009, a series of riots broke out in Urumqi, killing nearly 200 people, according to official figures.

In March, five knife-wielding men and women believed to be Uighurs slashed at crowds at a railway station in southwestern China, killing 29 people. Beijing has blamed it on secession-seeking terrorists.