Riots in China's western region of Xinjiang have killed at least 27 people, state media has said.

"Seventeen people had been killed... before police opened fire and shot  dead 10 rioters", the Xinhua news agency said on Wednesday.

The latest incident comes after 21 people died in violence in April, considered the deadliest in the region since July 2009, when nearly 200 people were killed in riots in the Xinjiang capital of Urumqi.

Many Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking Muslim people who call Xinjiang home, accuse China of placing restrictions on their culture, language and religion. China says it grants them wide-ranging freedoms.

China accuses armed Uighur groups of having links to Central Asian and Pakistani armed groups and of carrying out attacks to establish an independent state called East Turkistan.

Many rights groups say China overplays the threat posed to justify its tough controls in Xinjiang.

Source: Agencies