Advice issued on 1 December 2000
Please note that there are separate advice notices for Tibet,
Hong Kong and Macao.
Serious crime against foreigners is rare, and most visits to China
are trouble-free. However crime does occur in Chinese cities,and
visitors should take sensible precautions. Extra care should be
taken around street markets and when visiting popular expatriate
bar areas after dark. Resistance to attempted robbery can lead to
serious violence (knives are common).
A small number of bus bombings have occurred in recent years.
These bombings have occurred mainly in ethnic minority areas, and
have not been directed against foreigners.
Areas bordering on Siberia, Pakistan, Vietnam, Laos and Burma
are poorly policed. In Yunnan, drug smuggling and related crimes
are on the increase. There is also a risk of attack from armed bandits
in the more remote areas of China, such as those on the Gansu/Sichuan
China is periodically subject to earthquakes, and the Karakorum
and Khunjerab pass routes can be hazardous during the summer months
due to landslips.
Visitors to China should note that there are severe penalties
for all drug offences, including, in some cases, the death penalty.
British nationals require visas to enter mainland China, but not
Hong Kong. Visas cannot be obtained on arrival. Carefully check
the validity of your visa as fines can be levied for overstaying.
Visitors on a return trip to Hong Kong from the mainland should
ensure they have a double or multiple entry visa to gain re-entry
Visitors should be aware that there have been several incidents
of overcrowded ferries sinking leading to loss of life.
The poor quality of many roads and generally low driving standards
leads to many, sometimes serious, accidents.
It is not possible to change Scottish or Northern Irish banknotes.
The Trans-Siberian Express is noted for smuggling. Search your
compartment and secure the cabin door before departure. Petty crimes
and sexual harassment have been reported on overnight buses and
When flying within mainland China we advise, where possible, using
European or North American aircraft on China's larger airlines.
We recommend that travellers check the type of aircraft used on
their desired route, which is published in the airline timetable,
and choose their itinerary accordingly.
There have been attacks of piracy in the South China Sea. Mariners
are advised to be vigilant and take appropriate precautions.
Visitors who are travelling independently or planning an extended
visit are advised to register with the British Embassy, Beijing
(010 8529 6600, fax 8529 6081, e-mail
the British Consulate-General, Shanghai (021 6279 7650, fax 6279
7651, e-mail [email protected]) or the British Consulate-General,
Guangzhou (020 8335 1354, fax 8333 8465, e-mail [email protected])
For more travel advice: Foreign
& Commonwealth Office
For travel insturance: Association
of British Insurers
For health advice: World Health Organisation