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BEIJING: Twenty-two people were injured when a shallow earthquake hit southwestern China on Sunday afternoon and shook the popular tourist city of Lijiang, local authorities said.

The quake struck near the border between Yunnan and Sichuan provinces, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS), which put the magnitude at 5.4 and depth at 38 kilometres (24 miles).

The Yunnan Seismological Bureau said 22 people had been injured in the quake, two severely, in Ninglang county.

The provincial seismological administration said there were no reports yet of damage to houses, but state news agency Xinhua said a 60-strong search and rescue team had been dispatched to the epicentre.

The China Earthquake Networks Centre later measured the magnitude at 5.5 with a depth of 10 kilometres.

The epicentre was 115 kilometres away from Lijiang in Yunnan province, the USGS said.

China is regularly hit by earthquakes, especially in its mountainous western and southwestern regions.

In September three people were killed and dozens injured when a shallow quake hit Sichuan province, and tens of thousands of homes were damaged.

A 7.9-magnitude quake in Sichuan in 2008 left more than 80,000 people dead.

Among them were thousands of children, killed when poorly constructed school buildings collapsed, but the government failed to release an exact number of dead as the issue took on a political dimension.

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