CHENGDU - A Chinese seismological official dismissed Wednesday rumors that another strong earthquake would strike southwest China on Wednesday.
"Such rumors are groundless," said Deng Changwen, deputy director of the Sichuan Provincial Seismological Bureau.
"The bureau has not found signs of another massive quake according to the monitoring results, nor has it issued such a forecast," Deng said.
Hearing the rumors, citizens in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province, were panic-stricken. Some companies in Chengdu granted holidays to their employees and some schools allowed pupils to go home.
The 8.0-magnitude quake centered in Sichuan's Wenchuan County on May 12 has left 67,183 people dead, 361,822 injured and 20,790 missing in the country as of Tuesday noon.
The province has recorded more than 8,900 aftershocks after the devastating quake, with the strongest measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale.
In terms of the intensity and scope of destruction, the May 12 quake is believed to have surpassed the 7.8-magnitude quake in 1976 in Tangshan, northern Hebei Province, which claimed more than 240,000 lives.