A strong earthquake registering 6.7 on the Richter scale rocked a remote mountainous region in western China Sunday, destroying several buildings and knocking out telephone lines, Chinese officials said.

There were no immediate reports of casualties.The official Xinhua news agency, quoting the State Seismological Bureau, reported the earthquake struck near Batang, a town on an upper tributary of the Yantgze River in western Sichuan province near its border with Tibet. The area is mountainous and sparsely populated.

The quake struck at 5:34 a.m., and measured 6.7 on the Richter scale, bureau officials said.

An official of the Sichuan Province Seismological Bureau, reached in the provincial capital, Chengdu, by telephone from Beijing, said at least seven buildings in Batang were knocked down and many others sustained damage.

"As far as we know, there are no reports of injuries or deaths," the official said.

He said there had been no word from remote villages in the surrounding area because telephone lines had been knocked down.

He said nearly 300 aftershocks were recorded later in the day, with the largest registering 4 on the Richter scale.

Xinhua said the quake was felt as far away as Litang, a town about 70 miles to the east.

Officials from the Sichuan seismological bureau were traveling to the stricken area to investigate.

It was the first major earthquake reported in China since a massive temblor measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale devastated a remote mountainous area of western Yunnan Province, about 500 miles south of Batang, last November.

About 700 people were killed and more than 100,000 left homeless when the quake destroyed homes and buildings over a wide area.

November's quake was the worst in China since the 1976 earthquake in Tangshan in northern China in which more than 200,000 people died.

An earthquake registering above 6.0 on the open-ended Richter scale is capable of causing severe damage.