Major Earthquake Hits Southwest China

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May 12 – A major earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale struck Sichuan province in Southwest China at 2:28 p.m. on Monday.

The earthquake, centered 146 kilometers northwest of the provincial capital of Chengdu, was felt as far away as Taiwan and Bangkok. There have been no reports of damage yet, but the magnitude of the quake would suggest that it could be extensive.

Office buildings in both Beijing and Shanghai – which swayed for up to three minutes following the quake – were evacuated as a precaution against further aftershocks.

Land line and mobile communication networks throughout the country have been erratic for the hour following the quake. Public street announcements in Beijing are urging people to continue to evacuate office buildings and all offices along Jianguomen and Chang An Avenues appear to have been evacuated.

More to come as this story develops.