A series of earthquakes has hit southwestern China, killing at least 24 people and damaging more than 20,000 homes, state media says.
The official Xinhua News Agency said 150 people were also hurt in the quake that hit Yunnan and Guizhou provinces.
The largest quake struck on the border of Yunnan and Guizhou provinces around 11.00am (1300 AEST) at a depth of 14 kilometres, the official Xinhua news agency said, citing the China Earthquake Networks Centre.
The US Geological Survey put its magnitude at 5.6 and said it struck at a depth of 9.6 kilometres. Shallower earthquakes often cause more damage than deeper ones.
The largest quake, which was also felt in neighbouring Sichuan Province, was followed by several other tremors.
Xinhua said 20,000 houses had collapsed or been damaged. An official reached by telephone in Guizhou's Weining county told AFP no casualties had been reported there.
Buildings in rural areas in China are often constructed poorly.
In 2008, a severe earthquake in Sichuan province, just north of Yunnan, killed nearly 90,000 people, with many of the deaths blamed on poorly built buildings, including schools.
Local residents described how people ran out of buildings screaming as the quake hit.
"I was walking on the street when I suddenly felt the ground shaking beneath me. People started rushing outside screaming, it still scares me to think of it now," posted one on Sina Weibo, a microblogging service similar to Twitter.
Another Weibo user who was driving when the quake hit said he felt the road shake beneath him and struggled to keep hold of the steering wheel.
Photographs posted online showed streets strewn with debris from damaged buildings.
CCTV television footage showed hundreds of people gathered on the streets in the town of Yiliang, which appeared to have been worst hit, and streets strewn with fallen bricks and rocks.