A 6.0 magnitude earthquake hit a remote area of northwest China's Xinjiang region late Sunday, the US Geological Survey said.
The shallow quake struck at 9:27 pm (local time) around 100 kilometres (60 miles) east-northeast of the ancient Silk Road city of Kashgar.
In its initial assessment, the USGS said there was a low likelihood of casualties.
It said however that significant damage was likely, with many buildings in the region built from mud bricks or cinder block masonry.
The area near the quake's epicentre is sparsely populated mountain and desert terrain.
China is regularly hit by earthquakes, especially in its mountainous western and southwestern regions.
In February 2003 a powerful 6.8-magnitude quake killed 268 people in Xinjiang and caused significant damage.