Reports from the earthquake bureau in Yunnan province and the official Xinhua News Agency said the magnitude-5.5 quake damaged 2,500 houses, completely toppled 700 others, and left three people in serious condition.
Supplies, including 6,000 tents, were on their way to help the 55,000 people affected by the quake.
The epicenter of the quake lies 32 miles from the city of Dali. The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake measured at a magnitude of 5.5 at a depth of 20 miles. Xinhua said about 34 aftershocks were recorded following the quake.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.