More than 100 houses collapsed in the quake, which had an epicenter about midway between Chongqing and Chengdu.
The United States Geological Survey recorded the earthquake as having a magnitude of 5.2.
The casualties were reported in three villages of Moxi town, near Suining City in eastern Sichuan, according to the Sichuan Provincial Earthquake Administration.
Tongnan County, neighboring Suining, reported that 4,700 homes were damaged, with economic losses of at least 30 million yuan (about $4.5 million), Xinhua said.
According to a Xinhua report, this quake was not an aftershock of the massive temblor that struck Sichuan in May 2008:
Experts were still investigating the cause of the 5-magnitude quake, he said.
“We are sure this quake is not an aftershock because of change in geological structure and environment caused by the devastating quake in May 2008, which left about 87,000 people dead or missing,” Lu said.