The devastated Chinese city of Tangshan has been hit by another earthquake - the latest in a chain of disasters that has left about 700,000 Chinese dead and has seriously weakened the national economy.

Officials reported today that a quake measuring 6.6 on the open-ended Richter scale struck at 7:17 p.m. (7:17 a.m. EDT) yesterday. There was no immediate word of casualties.

Earthquakes also shook Tokyo and scattered areas of Japan: Christ-church in New Zealand, and parts of Bangladesh on the Indian subcontinent.

The epicenter of the Chinese earthquake was identified as Ningho, a rail town close to Tangshan and Tientsin, the nation's third largest city with a population of several million.

The quake, which was felt in Peking, 100 miles away, was followed by freakish weather. After first sweltering in tropical humidity yesterday, the capital was lashed by storms and snow fell on hilltops outside the city.

Officials described the quake as an "after-shock" from last July's massive earthquake, which reduced Tangshan to rubble.

No death toll was published but officals acknowledged that reports of 700,000 were not inaccurate.

Chinese officials also reported serious economic repurcussions. Tangshan, once a city of more than one million people, was an important coalmining center.

The quake caused fuel shortages that resulted in industrial plant closings last winter, disrupted vital rail links and diverted raw materials and supplies.