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How to Contact the Police in China and When to Do It

Nov 07, 2016 By Thomas Ackerman , Comments (13)     Add your comment Newsletter

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Whether you've spent a short time in China or years here, you have probably picked up that there is little violent crime or murder. Despite the spate of stabbings in recent years, such attacks are still extremely rare events. However, if you plan to live here for any great length of time, there is a real chance of having to go to the police over such crimes as robbery or burglary. You may encounter fraud or possibly theft of credit card information as well. While police do not deal directly with every kind of crime, they accept reports for all criminal offences and can help in many emergencies. Thus, it will be useful to have a clear idea of what they can help you with, and to understand some of the procedures.

How to Contact the Police in China and When to Do It

When to call

Although most of us think of going to the police for the immediate emergency or if we are a victim of a crime, a poll of Shanghai policemen shows that foreigners call the authorities for a very broad scope of reasons. These include filing a criminal report, asking about social security help, reporting transportation problems, general consultancy and daily life problems. Consultancy and daily life problems are actually listed as the most common reason that foreigners call 110. Getting lost is a common one. So is quarrelling with the landlord.

Furthermore, many foreigners approach police for issues that are not treated as police matters at all in China; these include reporting neighbours fighting, complaining about clothes being hung outside their door or reporting road construction at night. While these are not typically police issues, cases of serious violence at home are sometimes dealt with through the Ju Wei Hui (Chinese neighbourhood committees). It is relevant to add that most Chinese do not consider smacking a child to be serious violence.

So as not to cause confusion then, it is helpful to know what matters Chinese police consider emergencies. According to Beijing and Guangzhou authorities, police emergencies cover the following:

1) When you are in danger or in need of immediate help
2) If you learn of cases of murder, robbery, kidnapping, rape, assault, theft or other crimes
3) When order at shops, markets, bus or train stations, sports arenas or other gathering places is disrupted (as relating to violence or other destruction)
4) Reporting gambling, prostitution, drug use or other cases which threaten public security
5) When water, electricity, gas or heat systems are damaged and threaten public safety (such as a downed power line, not an electrical outage)
6) When old people, children or the mentally ill get lost or need help
7) In the case of natural disasters
8) Providing information about criminal cases

Note: You can report financial crimes to police non-emergency services, but other agencies are generally the ones in charge of the investigation.

What to do

If you are the victim of a crime or in an immediate emergency, pick up your cell phone and call 110. That emergency number is good anywhere in China. You can also report a crime through a new messaging system at 12110; this is useful for those who have difficulty communicating (such as the deaf or mute) or if the matter is not urgent. Furthermore, you can communicate with the authorities in many cities by e-mail: Beijing (, Guangzhou (, Shanghai (, Nanjing (, Xiamen ( More information on how to contact emergency services in your city can be found in our each eChinacities City Guides. It can easily be found when you type “useful numbers” in the search bar.

Once you have reported an emergency to 110 or at the local police station, you should be prepared to give your basic personal information such as your full name, nationality, contact number and address. Also be prepared to report the location and time of the crime, any injuries that occurred, as well as who and how many people were involved. Try to be as clear and factual as possible. If you do not know the name of the street where the crime happened, being able to give a description of the location, including nearby buildings, should help the police figure it out. One further note in reporting criminal activity is that when a crime is actually in process, be sure to make sure you are not placed in danger by reporting it. In some cases you might want to go to a safe place before contacting the police. This strategy is strongly advised by the police themselves.

After you have contacted the police there are a few further things to expect. If you have been injured in the crime, they will want you to keep hospital records which detail the injuries as well as the treatment and even simple medical checks such as X-rays or CT scans. You can also expect them to contact you in the future if they need further details or testimony. Naturally, if your contact information changes, let them know.

Probably the biggest worry in approaching police about a crime is whether they will be able to communicate with you. While it is still true that in smaller cities and towns language skills or a translator will help immensely, many large cities in China today have foreign language options on the 110 hotlines. You can expect to have language options in cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hohhot, Nanjing, Xiamen, Ningbo, Yiwu, Shijiazhuang and others. The largest of the above cities offer up to ten language choices.

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Keywords: How to contact police China when to contact police China crime China Chinese police emergencies

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13 Comments ( Add your comment )


What a load of rubbish. Who browns your nose? Local chief inspector?

1) When you are in danger or in need of immediate help

hahahahahaha. So they can arrive a few HOURS later?

2) If you learn of cases of murder, robbery, kidnapping, rape, assault, theft or other crimes

You can learn of them, but your testimony aint worth squat. Do you have 20 chinese people can back it up?

3) When order at shops, markets, bus or train stations, sports arenas or other gathering places is disrupted (as relating to violence or other destruction)

LOL. This is called daily life.

4) Reporting gambling, prostitution, drug use or other cases which threaten public security

Oh. ROFLMAO. Yes. Here are NO WHORES AT ALL! hahaha. Yes, those dirty girls threaten our whole way of life. That oldest profession in the world...

5) When water, electricity, gas or heat systems are damaged and threaten public safety (such as a downed power line, not an electrical outage)

O Please. What happens when serious issues of public safety arise? The public get involved. Why? They know the local policeman gets paid little and cares less....

6) When old people, children or the mentally ill get lost or need help

OH ROFLMAO. I have video evidence to dispute this. Please. Too much. Which department do you work for?

7) In the case of natural disasters

Well, this might be true - if we didnt have so many photos of the ARMY helping AFTER being 'mobilised' (ordered for publicity). Show ANY PROOF of your statements please. Otherwise its all just ..., slightly warm air at least.

Hey guys! Pigs fly! <Yeah? Show me a photo>

8) Providing information about criminal cases

Rape is a daily occurence. Murder almost so. Mostly state sanctioned. Trust me, here is the good oil for laowai: Be the monkey. See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. If you do - RUN AWAY - coz u will be blamed for it.

Worst propaganda I have read yet. SPIT

Jan 27, 2012 11:29
john shorera

excellent genuine reply ,thanks for your comment.
Chinese not 100% bad there are positives about china to each negative you mentioned and China in many regards is very safe compared to cities in the west . Crime and corruption are definately a reality in the east but one doesnt have to believe thats going to be everybodys experience because if you live in china with a great attitude your more likely to have such a better experience and see their are many great sides to the pulic chinese people getting involved instead of the police for instance as it shows everybody is not a stranger and people really want to help even if your a foreigner.
But every society is degenerate in this day and age ,look at Detroit Usa or the things that happen in Manchester Uk. Question wheere yo uwant to live and why

Jan 27, 2012 17:06

Completely agree re positives here, as well as similar factors overseas. However, my original advice stands. Unless your life is being threatened, avoid the police like the plague - they'll only end up costing you more. And when your life is threatened, its much more effective to drop the name of the local mafia boss as your friend...

Jan 27, 2012 21:14

Could not agree more. The Chinese Police are as useless as a shit flavoured lollipop. Reporting a robbery? Get real!

Jan 28, 2012 08:26

Police are policeeverywhere you go. Talking with them is usually due to a problem, something unpleasant. Who wants unpleasant things?

Be careful to say they're all bad. Some of my good friends are police. I meet kind police throughout China. Some old friends later join police. I support them. Cannot say all are bad.

Jan 28, 2012 22:30
joe kelly

Dear Sir/Madam, Please kindly excuse me introduce my self to you. I am a ghanaian who as marry to a chinese and living in china for about 7 years now,i have one child and love china. i want to be a volunteer to the chinese government so if there is any way please let me know how to go about it.Thank you .

Apr 02, 2012 09:21

I would probably agree. My Canadian wife was raped in South China by a wealthy Chinese businessman who now immigrated to Canada. The Chinese police so far are not interested in this, but neither can the Canadian police do anything because it happened in China.

May 06, 2012 13:16

there is little violent crime or murder, reported in the press or investigated by the po li tsai

Nov 07, 2016 12:47

Another shoddy repost with useless information.

Nov 07, 2016 18:32

A dangerous incident occurred when I was in Shanghai back in 2012. The police arrived in 2 minutes and were very helpful.

Nov 09, 2016 13:55

When to do it is either when you aren't the wrong race and/or nationality, or you at least have enough money to hongbao your way to some actual help.

Nov 11, 2016 08:42

It was a good article. Thanks for taking the time out to write this for us and trying to be helpful :)

Nov 13, 2016 20:22

My friend is asking for help. She is working illegaly in nanjing china as a housemaid. Her name is Gemaima grace nacor hamada. Her facebook name is Rhema Aisha Nacor. She wanted to go home in the philippines

Jun 12, 2017 03:33

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