At least eight people, including an eight-year-old boy, died after a mosque which is still under construction collapsed in a village in northwestern China on Thursday evening, state media reported.
Police detained the building contractor and were investigating if a faulty supporting beam had caused the tragedy at the mosque which was nearing completion in Taer Town in Qinghai province, Xinhua News Agency said.
Officials have ruled out a series of earthquakes in neighbouring Sichuan province on the same day for the collapse.
Thirty-one villagers, all of the ethnic Hui minority who are Muslims, were at the site and seven died on the spot. Three remained in critical condition and 20 others sustained minor injuries.
"The child was an eight-year-old village boy who was playing around the construction site, when the mosque suddenly collapsed," said Han Lutai, a village imam who had raised the funds to build the mosque, was quoted as saying.
Han said the project was approved by county authorities.
Taer town is 44km from the provincial capital of Xining. It has a population of 38,000 and the majority are Hui people.
Last Mod: 25 Temmuz 2008, 15:02