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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

22 dead, hundreds injured in China quake

September 2, 2008

An earthquake hit south-west China's Sichuan and Yunnan provinces
yesterday, killing 22 people and injuring about 126 as homes in rural
villages collapsed.
By Pat Wilde
Scotland on Sunday
August 31, 2008

Sichuan province has struggled to rebuild after another earthquake
killed about 70,000 people and left 10 million homeless in May.

Yesterday, Chinese officials said nearly 1,000 houses were destroyed,
burying some people in the ruins, and cracks a ppeared in the walls
of more than 400 other homes.

Mobile phone services in the area were disrupted and poor
communications were hindering authorities' efforts to make a complete
casualty count, the official Xinhua news agency said.

"A large number of houses have collapsed in the area," Qi Kaihong,
deputy chief of the Huili county publicity department, told Chinese
state television.

The epicentre of the quake, which struck around 4.30pm local time,
was about 20 miles south-east of Panzhihua, near Sichuan's border
with Yunnan, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS). It was
about six miles deep.

It put the magnitude of the quake at 5.7 and Xinhua said it measured
6.1 on the Richter scale.

A magnitude 5 earthquake struck Tibet on Friday near the border with
Nepal, close to an area hit earlier in the week by a stronger quake
that damaged hundreds of homes.

There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties from that
quake, which hit 240 miles northwest of Nepal's capital, Katmandu,
according to the USGS.

On Monday it reported that an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.7 hit
the Zhongba region in southern Tibet.

Xinhua said schools, a hydropower station and 622 homes were damaged
and about 2,000 people forced to seek temporary shelter.

No deaths or injuries were reported and truckloads of aid material
and relief funds were sent to the area.

Meanwhile, Chinese government auditors have uncovered the misuse of
millions of yuan in disaster assistance as part of an embezzlement
probe spanning ten central government departments, state media
reported last week.

A total of 258m yuan (£20m) in disaster relief funds was diverted to
construct government buildings or spent on administration last year,
Xinhua said.

China is trying to rebuild after the 7.9-magnitude quake struck
Sichuan province on May 12. The government set up a £5bn
reconstruction fund in the wake of the disaster.
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