One house collapsed as a result of the quake, and the shaking went on for several seconds.

Police officers patrol an area as middle school students rest outdoors after a 5.0-magnitude earthquake in Qiaojia county, Zhaotong city, in China's southwestern Yunnan province early on May 19, 2020.
Police officers patrol an area as middle school students rest outdoors after a 5.0-magnitude earthquake in Qiaojia county, Zhaotong city, in China's southwestern Yunnan province early on May 19, 2020. (AFP)

A magnitude 5 earthquake in southwestern China has killed four people and injured 23, according to the China Earthquake Networks Center.

The temblor in Yunnan province’s Qiaojia county struck at 9:47 PM local time on Monday at a relatively shallow depth of 8 kilometres.

The US Geological Survey listed the quake at 4.5 magnitude and a depth of 10 kilometers, while giving slightly different data on the time it struck and the location of the epicentre. 

Such discrepancies are not unusual given the vast distances involved.

At least one house collapsed and residents said the shaking went on for several seconds. Shallow earthquakes tend to cause more damage to buildings and infrastructure.

Earthquakes occur frequently in the area, which lies in the eastern slope of the Tibetan plateau.

A 1976 earthquake centered in the northeastern city of Tangshan killed at least 250,000 people.

China’s worst earthquake in recent years struck the mountainous western portion of Sichuan province to the north of Yunnan in 2008, killing nearly 90,000 people.

Source: AP