Abstract To study the activity characteristics of the Maqin-Maqu section of the east Kunlun fault, through the double-difference location algorithm, we relocate the small and medium seismic events in the Maqin-Maqu section of the east Kunlun fault from January 2009 to September 2018. Based on the CAP(cut and paste) method, we invert the focal mechanism solutions of earthquakes over magnitude 3.5 in the study area. The results show that the segmentation characteristics of seismic activity along the fault zone are obvious: the earthquake distribution around 101° E unfolds along the Awancang fault and the earthquake airspace phenomenon from Maqin to Zoige in the past 10 years has continued. The focal depth of the Maqin-Maqu segment of the east Kunlun fault is mainly distributed in the range of 2 to 30 km. The main compressive stress in the studied area is NEE, while the tensile stress is towards NNW. The results of the study provide seismological evidence for the conclusion that the slip rate of the Maqin-Maqu section weakened due to the absorption conversion of the Awancang fault in the east Kunlun fault.