China Travel Advice
Security travel advice for China
Threat level: Low-Medium
The current travel safety advice for China is to remain cautious in built-up and busy areas due to petty crime, be aware of local scams and remain vigilant for natural weather events. There is a low risk of terrorist activity, however be mindful that tourists are attractive targets throughout the world for extremist terrorists.
Recent Security Risk Events
Beijing is considered one of the safety cities in this region, however there have been previous terrorist attacks carried out by the Uyghur groups in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous region.
On the 26th of July 2018, an individual allegedly detonated a bomb outside the US Embassy in Beijing, that is now being reported by local authorities as a "firecracker" type device. The perpetrator injured himself but there was no other casualty.
In 2014, a brutal attack was carried out by 8 extremists at the Kunming railway station killing 33 and injuring over 140. Although tourists may not be directly targeted, these types of incidents may occur in popular tourist locations. Particular caution should be expressed within the Xinjiang area.
Petty crime is far more common than violent crime in the country. Take normal safety precautions in securing your belongings, money and be aware in busy areas. Stay away from isolated areas and take caution when on remote parts of China's Great Wall. Incidents of muggings have been reported in such areas although these are infrequent. Be wary of show touts who will try and sell you expensive and overpriced outings in the area of around Wangfujing.
Scam artists target tourists in China - some will dress as officials such as the police and demand funds are transferred for the investigation of identity theft or money laundering investigation. There are also scams involving Chinese criminals who will invite visitors out for tea and not pay which can leave the foreign visitor with a large bill.
Only use trusted ATMs at financial institutions as counterfeit currency is a prominent problem in China. Carrying various denominations or exact change can help aid with limiting this risk.
Demonstrations do occur and can turn violent. Participating in unauthorized political activities and/or religious activities, such as public protests or sending private electronic messages critical of the government may result in detention and sanctions on future travel to the China.
Please note that visitors can be hounded by street vendors, it is best not to show interest to prevent further vendors harassing and approaching you; a polite no or shake of the head will suffice.
Territorial disputes between China and its surrounding neighbours have been ongoing for many generations such as the Hong Kong mainland conflict which begun after the 1997 handover. Although issues are more likely to be resolved diplomatically in recent times, it has a long history of wars and tensions in the area. The current relationship with nations like Russia, India and Pakistan has improved in recent years and its foreign policies have favoured closer relationships with Europe. Its relationship with the United States of America and Oceania Islands has been somewhat tempered at times.
Do not use unlicenced black cabs and when takin taxis, insist that the journey is metered and that you get a receipt from the driver. Above all make sure the driver unloads all goods from the trunk of the vehicle before payment is made.
One of the main risks in China is road transport. China has seen an increasing number of vehicles on the road including mopeds. Drivers often have little regard for other road users and official regulation and consequently, accidents can happen. Seat belts do not have to be worn but it is advised you wear them at all times.
Religion: Atheism, Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism
Currency: Renminbi yuan
Time now in Beijing:
A visa is required to enter China but not if you're visiting Hong Kong or Macou. It is recommended this is applied for well in advance as visa applicants need to make their visa application in person at a Visa Application centre and they must be authorised prior to travel. Note that biometric data (scanned fingerprints) has to be provided during the application process.
If you plan to visit Hong Kong during your time in China, you must obtain a visa that permits re-entry into China. Please check with your local Chinese embassy or consulate for further details.
It is advised that visitors to China are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. It is further recommended that most travellers also get Tetanus and Hepatitis A vaccinations.
Although there is no direct risk of Yellow Fever in China, if you are coming from a country where there is a risk of the disease, or transiting for longer than 12 hours in an at risk country, you will be required to provide a vaccination certificate. Check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure.
Other health risks
It is recommended that you do not drink the tap water in China as it could lead to waterborne illnesses. Medical facilities do vary dependant on location, the medical facilities within cities can be overcrowded however the standard is good. Street vendors are common in China may not adhere to any health and safety standards, eating and drinking from them could lead to illness. There have been previous outbreaks of Avian Flu.
Medical facilities in the big cities are generally exceptional but health care can vary beyond these. Health care is not free and can prove exceptionally expensive so ensure that insurance covers you for all necessary treatment.
Pollution is high in China and as such may aggravate pre-existing bronchial conditions. It is not uncommon to see people wearing face masks.
Extreme weather and natural disasters
Tropical cyclones can affect the region from May to November and as such heavy rains, flooding and turbulent weather conditions can be apparent especially in the southern coastal regions of the country. Monitoring of the weather is advised during your visits and prior to arrival.
Earthquakes can happen frequently throughout China. You should make and know of contingency plans should you find yourself caught in an earthquake. Monitor local news and weather channels as these should provide you with sufficient information.
U.S. Embassy Beijing
No. 55 An Jia Lou Road
Telephone: +86 10 85314000
British Embassy China
11 Guang Hua Lu,
Jian Guo Men Wai
Telephone: +86 010 8529 6600
Other useful info
Police services: 110
Police text: 12110
Road accidents: 122
Emergency (Marine / Water): 12395
Weather Forecast: 12121