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U.S. Department of State
95/07/01 Consular Information on 4WCW, China, Sept. 4-5, 1995
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Fourth World Conference on Women
September 4 - 15, 1995
The Department of State and the American Embassy in Beijing stand ready
to provide regular consular assistance to and protection of U.S.
citizens traveling to China to participate in the Fourth World
Conference on Women and the NGO Forum. The Consular Section at the
American Embassy in Beijing strongly urges all participants to register
by fax in advance of leaving the United States. Consular officers from
the American Embassy will be available to participants who need consular
assistance at the Conference and NGO sites, and after hours through an
emergency duty officer program.
Registration: The fax number for the Consular Section at the U.S.
Embassy in Beijing is (011) (86-10) 532-3178. Please provide the
following information by fax to the U.S. Embassy, Attn: American
Citizens Services Section, Consular Section:
-- Name (as it appears in your passport)
-- Date and Place of Birth
-- Passport Number
-- Date and Place of Issuance of Your Passport
-- Address and Telephone Number in Beijing
-- Arrival and Departure Dates
-- Travel Itinerary in China (if any)
-- U.S. Contact (address and telephone number)
Country Description: The People's Republic of China (PRC) has been a
one party state controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) since
its founding in 1949. It is one of the world's largest and fastest
growing economies. Modern tourist facilities are not widely available,
except in major cities.
How to Avoid Legal Problems: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen
is subject to that country's laws and regulations. In some instances,
laws in China differ significantly from those in the United States and
do not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S.
law. Exercise caution and carefully obey local laws. Penalties for
breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for
similar offenses. Persons violating the law, even unknowingly, may be
expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Chinese laws prohibit public
demonstrations without a valid permit obtained from the Chinese Public
Security Bureau in the city where the demonstration is planned.
Information on Crime: China has a low crime rate; however, crime has
increased in the past few years, principally in the major cities.
Americans and other foreigners have seldom been victims of violent
crime. Theft is the most common crime affecting visitors and occurs
most frequently in crowded public areas, such as hotel lobbies, bars,
restaurants, and public transportation sites. The loss or theft abroad
of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police
and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Police reports are necessary
in China in order to obtain new visas from Chinese authorities. Chinese
authorities require that travelers have valid visas to exit China and to
travel and register in hotels within China. Useful information on
guarding valuables and protecting personal security while traveling
abroad is provided in the Department of State pamphlet, A Safe Trip
Abroad. It is available for $1 from the Superintendent of Documents,
U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402.
Drug Penalties: Travelers are subject to the laws and legal practices
of the country in which they travel. Criminal penalties for possession,
use, or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict, and convicted offenders
can expect severe jail sentences and fines. Hong Kong passport holders
have been executed for drug offenses, and one U.S. citizen, convicted on
drug-related charges in Shanghai, has received a fifteen-year prison
Customs Information: Information concerning regulations and procedures
governing items that may be brought into China is available through the
Chinese Embassy and Consulates. Importation of equipment for personal
use during the conference and forum such as computers and other
electronic devices may be permitted without the payment of customs
duty, so long as the items are re-exported from China upon China. The
U.S. Embassy can make inquiries about customs disputes, however,
interpretation of Chinese customs laws and regulations is solely the
jurisdiction of Chinese authorities.
Passport Confiscation: The confiscation of foreign passports of persons
involved in commercial disputes occurs in China. Under such
circumstances, the U.S. government will issue another passport to any
American citizen who applies for one. Even if a new U.S. passport is
issued, the Chinese government may block departure. As noted above a
valid visa is required to exit China.
Dual Nationality: China does not recognize dual nationality. U.S.
citizens who are also Chinese nationals have experienced difficulty
entering and departing China on U.S. passports, and some U.S. passports
have been seized by Chinese authorities. Dual nationals may be subject
to Chinese laws which impose special obligations. Such persons are
often required to use Chinese documentation to enter China. U.S.
citizens attending the conference should report any difficulties
immediately to the U.S. Embassy. The United States requires that all
U.S. citizens enter and depart the U.S. on U.S. passports. Dual
nationals who enter and depart China using a U.S. passport and a valid
PRC visa retain the right of U.S. consular access and protection under
the U.S.- PRC Consular Convention. The ability of the U.S. Embassy or
Consulates General to provide normal consular services would be
extremely limited should a dual national enter China on a Chinese or
other passport. China does not recognize the U.S. citizenship of
children born in China, when one of the parents is a PRC national. Such
children are required to depart China on PRC travel documents. Children
born in the United States to PRC national parents, who are neither
lawful permanent residents nor U.S. citizens, are not recognized as U.S.
citizens under Chinese nationality law. Although Chinese consulates
have frequently issued visas to such individuals in error, they are
treated solely as PRC nationals by Chinese authorities when in China.
Before traveling to China, dual nationals may wish to contact the Office
of Overseas Citizens Services at (202) 647-6769 or the U.S. Embassy in
Beijing at (86-10) 532-3831 (ext. 229) for additional information.
Travel to Tibet: The Chinese government requires U.S. citizens wishing
to visit Tibet to apply in advance for approval from the Tourist
Administration of the Tibetan Autonomous Region. More information is
available through the Chinese Embassy or a Chinese Consulate in the
Document Seizures: Chinese authorities have seized documents,
literature, and letters which they deem to be pornographic or political
in nature or those which are intended for religious proselytizing. If
you seek to enter China with religious materials in a quantity greater
than what is considered needed for personal use, you could be detained
and fined. Religious proselytizing or passing out of religious
materials is strictly forbidden. Americans suspected of engaging in
such activities have been fined, arrested or deported. Magazines with
photographs considered commonplace in Western countries, including some
advertisements, may be regarded as sexually explicit pornography.
Books, films, records, tapes, etc., which are "detrimental to China's
politics, economy, culture, and ethics" will be seized by Chinese
Customs to determine that they do not violate these prohibitions.
Entry Requirements: Passports and visas are required. Conference and
NGO Forum participants require a business visa. The length of stay is
determined by the amount of time requested when applying for the visa.
Most tourist visas are valid for only one entry. Travelers require a
new visa for additional entries into China. Chinese authorities fine
those who arrive without a visa up to 5,000 renminbi (about $600 U.S.)
at the port of entry and may not allow them to enter China. Specific
information is available through the Chinese Embassy at 2300 Connecticut
Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, tel: (202) 328-2500, or from one
of the Chinese Consulates General in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New
York, or San Francisco.
Consular Access: U.S. citizens are encouraged to carry photocopies of
their passport data and photo pages with them at all times so that, if
questioned by PRC officials, proof of U.S. citizenship is readily
available. (Do not carry your original passport with you. Your
passport and other valuables should be placed in a hotel safety deposit
box.) U.S. consular officers are not always notified when a U.S.
citizen has been detained. However, U.S. citizens have rights to
consular access under the U.S. - P.R.C. Consular Convention and should
insist upon contact with the U.S. Embassy or one of the U.S. Consulates
General. If you are denied this right, continue to protest.
Under the U.S. -P.R.C. Consular Convention of 1980, U.S. consular
officers shall be notified if a U.S. citizen is arrested or detained no
later than four days after the arrest or detention. Under the
Convention, U.S. consular officers must be informed upon request of the
reasons for the arrest or detention and have a right to visit the
citizen after a formal request is made by the consular officer. Visits
shall take place as soon as possible, no later than two days after the
request is made. Visits may be made on a recurring basis.
U.S. citizens arrested abroad are subject to the judicial process of the
foreign country. Upon learning of an arrest, U.S. officials will demand
consular access to you, visit you, advise you of your rights according
to local laws, and contact your friends and family if you wish. They
will do whatever they can to protect your interests and to ensure you
are not discriminated against under local law. Consuls can protest if
you are held under inhumane or unhealthy conditions or treated less
favorably than others in the same situation, and will protest any such
treatment. Although U.S. consular officers cannot serve as attorneys
or give legal advice, they can provide a list of local English speaking
attorneys you may retain and help you find legal representation.
Consular officers can assist in providing emergency medical and dietary
assistance when necessary and act as an intermediary in furnishing
letters and packages from family members to arrested citizens through
Medical Facilities: The quality of medical and health care in China is
uneven. Sanitation facilities, particularly outside Beijing, may not
meet Western standards of cleanliness, convenience and accessibility.
Participants should expect limited sanitary facilities at the NGO Forum
site. Competent, trained doctors and nurses are available in major
metropolitan centers. However, hospital accommodations are spartan and
medical technology is not up-to-date. Review your health insurance
policy. If your insurance does not cover you abroad, consider
purchasing temporary insurance that does. Doctors and hospitals often
expect immediate cash payment for health services. The
Medicare/Medicaid program does not provide payment for medical services
outside the United States. Persons taking prescription medicines or
syringes into China should carry a copy of a doctor's prescription. It
is wise to carry more than one pair of eyeglasses or to bring a copy of
your eyeglass prescription. All travelers to China are encouraged to
acquire medical insurance which covers medical evacuation from China.
There are a variety of companies offering this service. The following
two suggestions are not endorsements; both companies, however, have
doctors and clinics in Beijing and have worked with the U.S. Embassy in
the past in assisting U.S. citizens who were ill. You may wish to do
comparison shopping if you are considering purchasing insurance for your
Asia Emergency Assistance International SOS International
Seattle, Washington Philadelphia, PA
Phone: 1-800-548-7762 24-hour numbers: (215) 245-4707
24-hour number: ( 206) 781-8770 or (215) 244-1500
Questions on health matters can also be addressed to the Centers for
Disease Control & Prevention through its international travelers hotline
at (404) 332-4559.
Embassy and Consulate Locations: Americans may call or visit the U.S.
Embassy or a U.S. Consulate General to obtain updated information on
travel and security within the country.
If calling from within the United States about an emergency situation
regarding a friend or relative attending the conference, you may wish to
direct your initial call to the following number:
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Overseas Citizens Services
U.S. Department of State
Contact Persons: Mrs. Kerry Holmes-De Haven
Ms. Robin Morritz
If you are in China and are involved in an emergency situation, the
following information may be of assistance to you.
U.S. Embassy Beijing
2 Xiu Shui Dong Jie,
The principal points of contact for emergency matters related to the
welfare and well-being of American citizens in China are:
Mr. Arturo S. Macias
Minister-Counsellor for Consular Affairs
Mr. Daniel W. Piccuta
First Secretary and Consul
Chief, American Services
During normal business hours, both gentlemen may be reached at the U.S.
Embassy in Beijing's telephone numbers.
Telephone: (86-10) 532-3831 ext. 252 or 253
(86-10) 532-3831 ext. 229
(86-10) 532-3431 ext. 249
Fax: (86-10) 532-3178
For emergencies after normal business hours, contact the U.S. Embassy's
24 hour emergency number :
(86-10) 532-1910 (Duty Officer)
Additional Travel: In the event other travel within China is
contemplated, the following information regarding locations of U.S.
Consulates in China may also be of assistance:
1469 Huaihai Zhong Lu
Telephone: (86-21) 433-6880
Fax: (86-21) 433-4122
After Hours: (86-21) 433-3936
No. 52, 14th Wei Road
Telephone: (86-24) 282-0038
Fax: (86-24) 282-0074
After Hours: Same as above
No. 4 Lingshiguan Road
Telephone: (86-28) 558-3992
Fax: (86-28) 558-3520
After Hours: (86-28) 901-1899 (mobile phone)
1 South Shamian Street
Telephone: (86-20) 886-2418
(86-20) 886-2402 (ext. 256)
Fax: (86-20) 886-2341
After Hours: (86-20) 900-4511 (mobile phone)
26 Garden Road
Telephone: (852) 2841-2211
Fax: (852) 2845-4845
Consular Information Program: The Department of State issues Public
Announcements as a means to disseminate information quickly about
transnational conditions which pose problems for U.S. citizen travelers.
You can listen to them 24 hours a day by calling 202-647-5225 from a
touchtone phone. To receive them by fax, dial 202-647-3000 from a fax
machine, using the machine's receiver, and follow the instructions. To
view and download with a personal computer and modem, dial the Consular
Affairs Bulletin Board on modem number 202-647-9225. Set your
communications software to: no parity, 8 bits, one stop bit (N-8-1).
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