Strong quake shakes western China; casualties unclear

BEIJING - The U.S. Geological Survey says a magnitude-6.8 earthquake has rocked China's far western region of Xinjiang.

It was not immediately clear if Wednesday's quake, centered in a remote area near the county of Keriya, known in Chinese as Yutian, caused any damage or casualties. The China Earthquake Networks Center measured the quake at magnitude 7.

The director of the Yutian Civil Affairs Bureau, Zhang Chong, said officials were still gathering information. A police officer in Yutian said he felt tremors shaking the police station and ran outside.

USGS said the earthquake was centered 269 kilometers (168 miles) east-southeast of Hotan at a depth of 12.5 kilometers (7.7 miles).

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