At least two people were killed and many more injured in a series of explosions in China’s restive western region of Xinjiang on Sunday, state media reported. Explosions hit at least three locations in Xinjiang’s Luntai County at around 5pm on Sunday, the Tianshan news portal, run by the regional government, said in a short report on Monday morning . The report did not identify the explosions, which appeared to be coordinated attacks, as acts of terrorism. “The local social order was normal,” the report said, indicating that there was no further unrest following the explosions. An unspecified number of those wounded have been sent to hospitals for treatment, the report said. Investigations were ongoing. More than half of the county’s 113,000 residents are ethnic Uygurs, according to local census information. Restrictive religious policies and a general wealth gap between Han Chinese residents and Uygurs have in recent years fanned ethnic tensions in the region. Beijing has repeatedly accused the East Turkestan Islamic movement and other overseas terrorist organisations of instigating and carrying out terror attacks which have killed hundreds of civilians. Attacks targeting civilians have killed more than 200 people in the past year alone. Overseas observers doubt the strength of the groups and their links to global terrorism, with some arguing China exaggerates the threat to justify tough security measures in Xinjiang. “China’s policies have led people to resist fiercely in order to maintain their dignity,” Dilxat Raxit, a spokesman for the World Uyghur Congress, an exile group, said in a statement in response to the explosions. The attacks have grown in scale and sophistication over the last year and have spread outside the region. Among the most shocking were a May assault on a market in the regional capital Urumqi, where more than 30 people were killed, and a deadly rampage by knife-wielding assailants at a train station at Kunming in China’s southwest in March, which left 29 dead. Earlier this month three people who appeared to be Uygur were sentenced to death and another to life in prison for the Kunming knife attack in March. The explosions on Sunday occurred on the day China’s highest court, top prosecution office and the Ministry of Public Security, which handles policing, released instructions to their subsidiary organs throughout the country on how to deal with cases of terrorism and religious extremism, describing them as a “grave threat” to national security and social stability. The instructions, distributed on their websites, called on court officials, prosecutors and police to distinguish between the illegal acts of religious extremists and ordinary religious activities. Officials should avoid discriminating against religions or ethnic minorities, interfering with citizens’ freedom to practice their religion and should respect the personal dignity of criminal suspects and defendants, according to the instructions. Leniency should be given to criminals who surrender and provide testimony, the guidelines read. Criminals who have not caused great harm and have expressed remorse for their actions should be exempted from punishment. The guidelines also said that the use of insults such as “religious traitor” and ”heretic”, if serious, may lead to criminal conviction. Last week, Ilham Tohti, a Uygur academic who was an outspoken critic of China’s policies in the region, faced trial on charges of separatism at a court in Urumqi. The court is due to deliver its verdict in the case on Tuesday, his lawyers said, in a move critics say could add to tensions.