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China Travel Safety & Security

Badaling Great WallOverall China is a safe country, and most people you meet will be friendly, honest and trustworthy. However, travel and living conditions are different from your home country,  so be alert.

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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 tourists areas and in crowded places like markets.

We suggest you do not 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 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 them -  for example a backpack, even a small day pack, is extremely vulnerable. Wallets, mobile phones, cameras, jewelry and laptops are tempting targets for thieves. Do not flash a wallet around when paying for purchases and carry some loose change for beggars.

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". There have been reports of tourist being ripped off in this way. Do not pick up "roll of bills" found on streets. 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. You are advised to use the ATM when accompanied and during daytime.

Make sure that you protect your passport, tickets, visa documents etc by carrying them on your person, preferably underneath clothing in a pouch or money belt. Never leave valuables lying around your hotel room or in your car. And 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 be particularly careful at night. At all times try to stick to busy, well-lit places.

Local laws
Be aware that local laws and penalties, even those which may seem harsh by your home country standards, do apply to you. For example, there are strictly enforced laws which prohibit demonstrations unless they have prior approval from the government. Penalties for drug offences are severe, and include the death penalty, as do certain other serious crimes.

National disaster
The rainy season occurs between March and April in southern and eastern China (eg Guilin, Suzhou, Hangzhou), from June until August in the west (eg Yunnan Province and Tibet), and between May and September for the areas near the Yangtze River (eg, Chongqing and Yichang). During these times severe rainstorms can cause landslides in Shangrila and remote areas in Tibet which may interrupt essential services. Rural areas near the Yangtse River may be subject to flooding. Typhoons can occur during the wet season along the southern and eastern coasts. You should monitor weather reports if traveling in affected areas. If a natural disaster occurs you should follow the advice of the local authorities.