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China Travel Information - Current Situation

updated: 2008-06-20

The giant earthquake that hit China's Sichuan Province at 2:38pm on May 12th was China's largest natural disaster in over three decades. Although the 8.0-magnitude quake could be felt in most provinces and regions of China, almost all of China's tourist destinations were unharmed and tours throughout China have continued uninterrupted. China is still a safe place to visit.

Aftershocks: As of May 21th, 162 aftershocks had been monitored in Sichuan Province, according to the China Seismological Bureau. Among them, 26 aftershocks measured higher than 5.0 on the Richter scale, and 4 measured above 6.0 according to the bureau. Experts have been reported saying they believe a strong aftershock rating higher than 6 on the Richter scale is likely to occur at the original quake's epicenter.

Slightly affected areas

Chengdu: Chengdu, the largest city near the epicenter (about 100km), felt the strong tremors, but the city was luckily largely spared. No major damage was reported, although a large number of its residents spent the night outdoors in fear of further aftershocks. For safety sake, it is recommended visitors not enter the city for the time being.

Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding: According to officials at the research base, the giant pandas are safe.

Chongqing: Chongqing, located about 350 kilometers away from the epicenter, was affected, but damages were very minor. It is a safe place now and some of the victims were transported to the city to receive health care. No tours have been stopped because of the earthquake.

Yangtze Cruise: Chongqing has remained open and most Yangtze River cruises begin or end in this city, so all cruises down the Yangtze River will continue uninterrupted. Officials from the Three Gorges Dam, which is located on the Yangtze River, reported although they felt the quake, the dam sustained no damage from it, and has remained in operation continuously.

Leshan Giant Buddha: Leshan City is located over 150km away from the epicenter felt tremors, but officials reported no damage had occurred to the Leshan Giant Buddha or the surrounding area.

Dazu Buddhist Grottos: The grottos felt the tremors from the May 12th earthquake, but reported no damages to the ancient Buddhist carvings.

Major Tourist Cities in Other Parts of China

The tourism industry has remained unaffected in the northern, eastern and southern parts of China where most of China's tourist cities are located.

Northern China:

Beijing: People in Beijing, which is 1922km away from the quake's epicenter, felt a slight tremor when the giant earthquake happened. After that, everything went back to normal.

Xian: Xian located approximately 900km away from the epicenter. When the giant earthquake happened, the local people felt a strong tremor. As of May 22th, no strong aftershocks had been monitored. The Terracotta Warriors were unharmed. Life is getting back to normal.

Eastern China:

Shanghai, Huangshan (Yellow Mountain), Suzhou and Hangzhou in Eastern China, over 2000km away from the epicenter, were not affected by the earthquake.

Southern China:

Guilin: China Odyssey Tours' headquarters are located in Guilin, in Southern China's Guangxi Province, about 1600km away from the epicenter. The earthquake occurred during office hours, and no employees felt them, although it has been reported that the tremors did reach the city.

Hong Kong: Even though it was said that a slight tremor was felt in Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, over 1900km away from Sichuan, Life in this area has not been affected by the earthquake.

Lijiang: Lijiang, located in southwestern China's Yunnan Province, is about 1000km away from the epicenter. The tremor was felt by all in Lijiang, but life and tours in this area were uninterrupted.

Guizhou: Guizhou, where many ethnic groups live, is located approximately 900km away from the quake's epicenter. Even though tremor was felt, it is still a safe place to travel.