Public Services in Beijing

Emergency services in Beijing

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Calling emergency telephone numbers from a cell phone is free in China. These numbers are valid in almost the entire of mainland China.




    Other important numbers:
  • Traffic Police - 122
  • Directory inquiries - 114
  • Consumer Protection - 12315


Despite its sprawling size, Beijing is an extremely safe city. Violent crime is extremely rare and the most common crimes are petty thefts upon tourists. Watch for scams and thieves around the inner city and Tiananmen Square.

Common Schemes

Students asking you to a special place to practice English- While in some cases this could be true, there are reports of young adults taking tourists to a place that charges an exorbitant fee for drinks. Variations of this theme include: "art students" who bring you to their "school exhibition" for high ticket fees; tea sampling; attractive female "students" luring male tourists to shops, restaurants or night clubs. These people usually avoid confrontation, so just be firm and avoid getting into these situations.

Tourist Price for Rickshaw- Agree on a price beforehand, ideally in writing.

Counterfeit money- Chinese people inspect money carefully for a reason, there are a lot of counterfeit bills in circulation. The most common are 100's and 50's.

    Common Scenarios:
  • If someone wants to give back the largest currency bill (RMB 50 and RMB 100) by the excuse of "no change"
  • If they tell you they are lowering the price in your benefit
  • Asking you to contribute an additional sum in order to pass you the RMB 100.
  • Vendor refuses to accept your RMB 100 bill claiming that it's fake. They may have taken your genuine bill and discretely change it for a fake one
    To identify counterfeit bills:
  • Check the paper. If its torn, thin or very slippery, ask for a different bill.
  • Check the watermark, it should blur out softly. If there are hard visible corners in the watermark, reject the bill.
  • Check the green "100" imprint on the lower left corner. It should be clearly painted on the bill so you can both feel and see a relief. If its missing or not feel-able, reject the bill also.
Rejecting bills is not considered impolite. It is perfectly acceptable to hand back a bill and ask for a different one. If the vendor gets upset, you should consider cancelling the purchase and moving on. If the coloring of a banknote is faded, it does not necessarily mean it is fake.

Update 12/05/2011

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