By and large China is safe, but petty crime is on the increase and tourists are particularly vulnerable. Take precautions and use common sense, particularly at night, and particularly around the tourist’s areas and in crowded places like markets. Try not to carry large amounts of money or obvious symbols of wealth, and keep your wallet or purse out of sight (back pockets are a big no). Pickpockets tend to operate in crowded areas, for example the public bus, so in busy areas make sure that you carry your bags where you can see and feel them – for example a backpack, even a small day pack, is extremely vulnerable. Wallets, mobile phones, cameras, jewellery and laptops are tempting targets for thieves. Avoid flashing a wallet around when paying for purchases.
Be alert of some common scams. Be cautious if somebody approaches you and invite you for a drink at a tea house or bar nearby to “practice English” or meet their relative who just happens to be moving to your country for study or work. There have been reports of tourists being ripped off in this way. ATM crime is on the rise recently, there are continual reports of ATM scams including using fake ATM’s or other methods to steal the user’s card details. You are advised to use the ATM while accompanied and during daytime banking hours using the ATM’s inside the branch for added security.
Care of Valuables
- Ensure that your passport, tickets, visa documents etc are safe by securing them in the vault of your hotel or carrying them on your person, preferably underneath clothing in a pouch or money belt.
- Never leave valuables lying around your hotel room, bus or car.
- If you are backpacking or staying in hostels buy a padlock so that you can secure your possessions in lockers, or enquire about a safe deposit at the hotel.
- Carry a photocopy of your passport and other vital documents separately from the originals.
- Be particularly careful at night and try to stick to busy, well-lit places.
Law & Security
Be aware that local laws and penalties may seem harsh by your home country standards, do apply to you. For example, there are strictly enforced laws which prohibit large public demonstrations unless they have prior approval from the government.
Punishments for drug offences and other serious crimes are severe, and include the death penalty.