The earthquake shook Taxkorgan County, in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, at 5.58 am (2158 GMT Wednesday), the region’s Earthquake Administration said. Several aftershocks were also felt.
The earthquake has affected more than 12,000 people, and about 9,200 people have been evacuated to safety, Xinhua news agency reported. Xinhua also said 23 people had been hospitalized.
A nurse at Taxkorgan county hospital said the hospital had received many patients injured in the earthquake, though she couldn’t estimate how many.
About 180 houses collapsed in the affected areas, the administration said.
The China Earthquake Administration activated emergency response procedures and more than 1,000 soldiers and police officers, and 1,500 civilians were mobilized in the affected areas, Xinhua said.
Taxkorgan County is about 300 kilometres south of the city of Kashgar and borders Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan.