Shijiazhuang , the capital of Hebei province , is the mainland city most vulnerable to earthquakes, according to a study reported in the Information Times. The study, carried out by the Key Laboratory of Environmental Change and Natural Disaster at Beijing Normal University, analysed nearly 7,000 records, going back hundreds of years, detailing tremors with a magnitude of at least 4, as well as socioeconomic data of about 700 mainland urban areas. The university researchers concluded that Shijiazhuang, followed by Hefei in Anhui province and Xining in Qinghai , were at the greatest risk of earthquake disaster. Chengdu , less than 100km from the May 12 quake zone in Sichuan , was ninth. Guangzhou, Beijing and Shanghai were considered relatively safe. The May 12 quake, which left about 88,000 people dead or missing, shocked the country as it came with virtually no warning. The frequency of earthquakes, population, building density and even gross domestic product pushed cities up the risk ladder because those factors would increase the possibility and severity of a natural disaster, according to the report. But a city's capacity to respond to an earthquake, including the quality of its buildings and the maturity of its urban infrastructure and management, could significantly reduce the risk factor. In Guangdong, Jiangmen , Chaozhou and Shantou were the most vulnerable, according to the report.