China re­mains a safe place for for­eign vis­i­tors

China Daily European Weekly - - Comment - By ZHAO XINYING STEVEN RIBET Cao Yin and Zheng Yu­meng contributed to this story. Con­tact the writ­ers at zhaoxiny­ing@chi­

China is seen as one of the safest places in the world for for­eign vis­i­tors, ac­cord­ing to an in­ter­na­tional se­cu­rity re­port and anec­do­tal ev­i­dence from tourists, ex­pa­tri­ates and over­seas stu­dents.

In the new Travel Risk Map 2018, the coun­try is listed as hav­ing a “low” travel risk, which means “vi­o­lent crime rates are low, and racial, sec­tar­ian or po­lit­i­cal vi­o­lence or civil un­rest is un­com­mon”.

The re­port, now in its eighth year, is com­piled and re­leased an­nu­ally in a joint ven­ture by In­ter­na­tional SOS, the med­i­cal and travel se­cu­rity ser­vices com­pany, and global risk and strate­gic con­sult­ing firm Con­trol Risks.

Since the safety sit­u­a­tion in China has re­mained sta­ble, its risk rat­ing has not changed for many years, ac­cord­ing to Tony Ma, client li­ai­son di­rec­tor in China for the joint ven­ture.

“We haven’t no­ticed any dra­matic, mas­sive threats at present in China; ter­ror­ism or mass shoot­ings or killings are gen­er­ally ab­sent,” he says. “Kid­nap­pings for ran­som and ex­treme vi­o­lent sce­nar­ios are also very rare.”

China has be­come the fourth most pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tion for tourists world­wide, with more than 60 mil­lion trips made by peo­ple from other coun­tries last year, ac­cord­ing to the United Na­tions World Tourism Or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Maria Plaza Pe­layo, 24, of Madrid, who ar­rived in Bei­jing a few weeks ago, says she is im­pressed by China’s or­der and safety, which has made her feel much safer than in the United States or Tur­key, where she also has vis­ited.

She says she doesn’t feel like she is in any dan­ger in Bei­jing, as she sees ef­forts from pro­fes­sion­als, in­clud­ing vol­un­teers on streets, police of­fi­cers on pa­trol and se­cu­rity staff in the sub­ways, to keep or­der.

Liu Hong­bin, a pro­fes­sor of pub­lic or­der stud­ies at Peo­ple’s Pub­lic Se­cu­rity Univer­sity of China, says con­tin­u­ous joint ef­forts on fight­ing crime, the de­ploy­ment of tech­no­log­i­cal tools to track crimes and the in­clu­sive­ness of the Chi­nese cul­ture, are all rea­sons for China’s high safety level.

“The Chi­nese cul­ture has been an in­te­gra­tion of cul­tures of dif­fer­ent eth­nic groups in the long his­tory of the coun­try. Peo­ple raised in such a di­verse cul­tural en­vi­ron­ment do not hold dis­crim­i­na­tion or hos­til­ity to­ward peo­ple from other cul­tures, mak­ing peo­ple from other coun­tries feel se­cure and com­fort­able,” he says.

Ar­mando Raphael Ly­don Bus­quets, 20, of Cal­i­for­nia, in the US, says he con­stantly heard gun­shots and police sirens back home.

“You’d see a lot of shady peo­ple, and it would al­ways be in the local news about some­thing bad hap­pen­ing with some­one,” says Ly­don Bus­quets, a stu­dent at the Univer­sity of In­ter­na­tional Busi­ness and Eco­nom­ics in Bei­jing.

Data from the Min­istry of Pub­lic Se­cu­rity show that China has seen a sta­ble num­ber of gun-re­lated crimes in re­cent years and the num­ber of vi­o­lent crimes, such as mur­der, rob­bery and kid­nap­ping, has dropped sharply.

Be­tween Au­gust 2016 and July, police solved about 3,800 il­le­gal weapons cases and firearms pur­chases and de­tained 25,000 sus­pects, the min­istry says.

The min­istry launched a cam­paign tar­get­ing gun-re­lated crime in July, which will run un­til the end of the year.

Apart from gun-re­lated crime, the num­ber of other vi­o­lent cases in 2016, such as homi­cide, ar­son and rob­bery, also de­clined by 43 per­cent since 2012, the min­istry says.

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