An earthquake has struck in China's Xinjiang region Getty

A 6.5 magnitude earthquake in the far west of China's autonomous Xinjiang region has left six people dead and led to the destruction of some 3,000 homes.

The quake struck Pishan county in the Hotan region of Xinijang shortly before 9 am on Friday 3 July, AP reported.

"Buildings were trembling and people rushed to the streets," said Jin Xingchang, an express courier in Hotan City.

Roughly 220,000 people live in Pishan county according to a 2002 census. The mostly Muslim Uighur area of Pishan is at the southern edge of the Taklamakan desert near the border with India.