China has raised building standards nationwide since the Tangshan quake four decades ago. It was decided, in its aftermath, that all new residential buildings should reach a level where they could withstand an earthquake with a magnitude greater than or equal to six, without inflicting any critical damage.
If a stronger earthquake should hit, they should avoid a collapse or serious damage that put lives in danger.
In sixty-nine cities and five counties located in major earthquake-prone zones -- including Beijing and Tianjin -- standards were set even higher. However, the Wenchuan earthquake in Sichuan province in 2008 intensified concerns for higher standards in hospitals and schools in rural areas.
Last year alone, the central government allocated about 36 billion yuan to help transform more than four million buildings in rural China. The country has been using a new seismic parameter map to help build safer structures since June. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development has also renewed its building standards to avoid active earthquake fault.