China

China

Use Normal Level of Caution

The People's Republic of China is located in eastern Asia between North Korea and Vietnam. China has the largest population in the world with about 1.3 billion people. It is the region of one of the world's earliest civilizations.

There are seven main Chinese dialects and Mandarin is the dialect spoken by about 70 percent of the people. Other dialects spoken in China are Cantonese, Wu, Min, Xiang, Gan, and Hakka. Many other languages are spoken by ethnic minorities.

For more than 4,000 years, China's political system was based on hereditary monarchies known as dynasties. The last dynasty, the Qing, ended in 1911 with the founding of the Republic of China. In 1949, the communist party won a protracted civil war and established the People's Republic of China on mainland China. The defeated side (the Kuomintag) retreated to Taiwan.

The government is centralized in the Chinese Communist Party under a single party system. There is a president as head of state and a premier as head of government with a National People's Congress and a State Council. The highest level of power is the National People's Congress.

China is undergoing major economic and social change. The introduction of a market-based economy has led to reforms that have created the world's fastest growing major economy, the world's largest exporter and second largest importer of goods. As a result, China has become a major superpower with the world's largest standing army and the second-largest defense budget.

Visitors to China can see the Forbidden City, Summer Palace, the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, temples, markets, and museums, to name just a few.

Currency RMB: Renminbi. Basic unit of currency is the Yuan.
Language See Facts below
Capital Beijing
Recent Alerts 2
Latest Alert March 17, 2017 - Avian influenza outbreak continues to infect people in China

Diseases To Be Aware Of

The diseases listed below are those which occur most often in China. Other, less frequently encountered diseases might be displayed within the Travel Alerts section if they have occurred recently.

Malaria

In China, cities and popular tourist areas, including Yangtze River cruises, are not at risk and do not require anti-malarial medication. Rural areas as follows are at risk: Rural areas of Yunnan Province, primarily along the China-Myanmar border; limited transmission in rural areas of Anhui, Hubei, Guangxi, Hainan, Ghuizhou, Henana, Jiangsu and Motuo County in Tibet.

Japanese encephalitis

Japanese encephalitis usually occurs in rural farming areas in China. Outbreaks have been recorded in all provinces except Xizang (Tibet), Xinjiang, and Qinghai. The risk for travellers of contracting Japanese encephalitis is low, but visiting areas where the virus is active and extensive outdoor activity in rural areas will increase this risk.

Hepatitis A

There is a significant risk for hepatitis A virus exposure in China through contaminated food or water. Infection can still occur at tourist destinations and resorts.

Hepatitis B

There is a significant risk for acquiring hepatitis B in China.

Typhoid Fever

Unvaccinated people can become infected through contaminated food and water in China, especially when visiting smaller cities, villages, or rural areas and staying with friends or relatives.

Leishmaniasis

Leishmaniasis occurs most commonly in rural areas in China. The risk of acquiring leishmaniasis is increased in travellers who spend time outdoors in rural areas and at night, when sand flies typically feed.

Tick-Borne Encephalitis

Tick-borne encephalitis occurs in early and late summer in forested areas of northern China.

Dengue Fever

Dengue fever outbreaks have occurred in China, particularly in the southeastern more tropical area.

Schistosomiasis

Schistosomiasis has occurred in China. Schistosomiasis is a parasitic disease that is acquired through contact with fresh water, such as swimming, bathing, or rafting. Well-chlorinated swimming pools and contact with saltwater in oceans or seas will not put travellers at risk for schistosomiasis.

Scrub Typhus

Scrub typhus, also known as Tsutsugamushi fever, has occurred in some areas of China.

Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease

Sporadic seasonal outbreaks occur in China during the early spring and summer seasons.

Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever

Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever outbreaks have occurred in western China.

Chikungunya Fever

Chikungunya fever has occurred in this country.

Yellow Fever

There is no risk of yellow fever transmission. However, this country requires a yellow fever vaccination certificate for all persons 9 months of age or older if travelling from a country with a risk of yellow fever transmission, including transit in an airport located in a country with risk of yellow fever transmission. This requirement does not apply to travellers whose itineraries are limited to Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) and Macao SAR.

Rabies

Rabies occurs in China. Travellers involved in outdoor activities (e.g., campers, hikers, bikers, adventure travellers, and cavers) may have direct contact with rabid dogs, bats, and other mammals. Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers) and long-term travellers and expatriates are at higher risk.

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis occurs in China. Travellers to this country are at risk for tuberculosis if visiting sick friends or family, working in the health care field, or having close prolonged contact with the general population.

Vaccinations to Consider

The following is a list of recommended vaccinations for travelling to China.

Japanese Encephalitis Vaccine

This vaccination is recommended for people who plan extensive outdoor activities while visiting rural or farming areas during the months of May to October. It is not recommended for itineraries that are limited to Beijing or other major cities.

Hepatitis A Vaccine

There is a significant risk of exposure to hepatitis A for this country, therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Hepatitis B Vaccine

There is a significant risk of infection with hepatitis B for this country, therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Typhoid Fever Vaccine

Unvaccinated travellers are at risk of exposure to typhoid fever in this country through consumption of unsafe food and water. Since exposure to unsafe sources is variable within this country, the vaccination against typhoid fever is generally recommended, especially when visiting smaller cities, rural areas, or staying with friends and family.

Yellow Fever Vaccine

This country requires a yellow fever vaccination certificate for all persons 9 months of age or older if travelling from a country with a risk of yellow fever transmission, including transit in an airport located in a country with risk of yellow fever transmission. This requirement does not apply to travellers whose itineraries are limited to Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) and Macao SAR.

Rabies Vaccine

Vaccination against rabies is recommended for travellers involved in outdoor activities (e.g., campers, hikers, bikers, adventure travellers, and cavers) who may have direct contact with rabid dogs, bats, and other mammals. Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers) and long-term travellers and expatriates are at higher risk and should be vaccinated.

Medications to Consider

The following is a list of recommended medications for travelling to China.

Anti-malarial Drugs

Anti-malaria medication is recommended for travellers whose itineraries include travel to the western part of Yunnan Province and Hainan Province. Recommended medication: atovaquone-proguanil or doxycycline. Anti-malaria drug resistance for chloroquine and mefloquine is present.

Safety and Security in China

Emergency Numbers

110
112 For mobile phones. Will get a bilingual message in English and Chinese for emergency information.
119
120
122 For traffic emergencies

Personal Safety

Travellers in China are reminded that laws are strictly enforced, and offenders may be fined, detained, arrested, or deported.

Violent crime is rare in China, however, petty crime, such as pickpocketing and theft, is prevalent and foreigners are the major target. Ensure all valuables and travel documents are kept secure.

There has been an increase in cases of extortion by taxi drivers. Also, foreigners have been approached by strangers and invited to a nearby establishment for a drink, only to be presented with a large bill and forced to pay. Be cautious of strangers asking to “practice English” or to accompany them to nearby locations.

Travellers should be aware that weapons are prohibited, and foreigners have been prosecuted for possession of prohibited weapons. The laws apply to those transiting Hong Kong airport and apply to carry-on luggage, luggage in transit, and checked luggage. Prohibited weapons include slingshots, stun devices, any spear or dart guns, knuckledusters, etc.

Areas To Avoid

Travellers should exercise a high degree of caution when travelling in the Tibet Autonomous Region. Unrest in 2008 prompted the Chinese authorities to restrict the entry of foreigners in 2009, both to the Tibet Autonomous Region and to some parts of neighbouring provinces that have important Tibetan populations. Those areas have been re-opened to tourists, and applications for entry visas are being accepted by Chinese officials. Permission is required for anyone wishing to travel in these regions.

There is a risk of banditry in remote parts of China, and police presence is poor in areas bordering Burma, Laos, Pakistan, Russia and Vietnam.

Political Unrest

Minimize safety risk by avoiding public and political gatherings and demonstrations in any city since even peaceful protests can quickly and unexpectedly become violent.

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