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Strong earthquake hits Xinjiang
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The Chinese Seismological Network detected the fifth minor tremor in Yutian County, in southwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, at 8:26 a.m. Friday (Beijing Time).

Four quakes had rocked the Kunlun Mountain region earlier on Friday with the first and the strongest measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale and occurring at 6:33 a.m.

The epicenter of the quakes was located at 35.6 degrees north latitude and 81.6 degrees east longitude. The first jolt was followed by four minor ones measuring between five and 5.2 on the Richter scale between 7:00 a. m. and 8:26 a.m.

An official in Hotian Prefecture told Xinhua the earthquakes affected the townships of Aqqan and Bostan, where the total population is about 13,400.

"The jolts occurred in the early morning in the mountainous region sparsely populated by people of ethnic groups, mainly Uygur. There were no immediate reports of casualties," he said.

Executive deputy commissar of the Hotian Prefecture Zhang Jinbiao has led a group of medical workers and public security staff to the region.

(Xinhua News Agency, March 21, 2008)

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