A magnitude 6.5 earthquake shook China's far western region of Xinjiang on Friday, killing six people and damaging or collapsing thousands of buildings, authorities said.

The quake hit Pishan county in the Hotan region of Xinjiang at a depth of about 10 kilometers (6 miles) shortly after 9 a.m. Friday, the China Earthquake Networks Center said.

"Buildings were trembling and people rushed to the streets," said Jin Xingchang, an express courier in Hotan city, about 15 kilometers (9 miles) from Pishan.

Six people died and about 3,000 houses and other buildings collapsed or were damaged, according to Xinjiang's Bureau of Civil Affairs.

The mostly ethnic Muslim Uighur area of Pishan is at the southern edge of the Taklamakan desert near the border with India, and is abundant in mineral resources including coal, crude oil, natural gas and jade.