Three killed in Chinese earthquake

A 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck China's southwestern Sichuan province today, killing three people, state media has said.

The earthquake hit 31 miles (50 kilometers) southeast of Panzhihua city in the southwestern corner of Sichuan at 4:30 p.m local time, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

The China News Service said three people died, citing the local county government.

Residents of Kunming, the capital of neighboring Yunnan province, felt a strong shock from the earthquake, with many running into the streets despite falling rain, it said. Telecommunications were temporarily cut but then restored, it said.

A duty officer at the State Seismology Bureau said the quake occurred in a mountainous area. He did not want to give his name, as is common with officials in China.

The bureau is still gathering information, he said.

On 12 May, a 7.9 magnitude earthquake in northern Sichuan killed nearly 70,000 people and left 5 million homeless. The region has been hit by scores of aftershocks, keeping people there on edge.