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Home  /  Inside China  /  The Lack of Thefts – If Not a 'Shock' than at Least a Nice Surprise
The Lack of Thefts – If Not a 'Shock' than at Least a Nice Surprise print version
Without making promises, relatively speaking, foreigners getting robbed isn't a very common phenomenon, even in China's poorest regions; A positive outcome of a national (and personal) pride and a powerful regime.
This section usually provides you with warnings (useful or more pointless ones), regarding the labor pains  you might experience during the first weeks (or months, or years) spent in China, and since we don't wish to discourage anyone from visiting the land of the dragon, we decided to point out also some pleasant surprises newcomers might come across in China.

Concerning thefts, I will refrain from making too optimistic statements, since I don't wish to stimulate the rage of foreigners who have been robbed in some of China's dark corners. I can say that while in most countries there's a distinct correlation between sorrounding poverty and the risk of being mugged, in China, foreigners (I'm not discussing robberies of local Chinese or Chinese tourists) have to worry less about their wallets.

Numerous are the times in which I left a bag of valuables in a taxi without worrying that the driver will escape, or asked peasants to keep eye of my bag in a train or a bus station, while I went to do my business.

The Chinese pride, the desire to be good ambassadors of their nation or town and the wish to make a decent impression on the foreigner in front of them are all attributes which I associate with this lack of tendency to steal. Sure, many vendors will 'steal' the few extra Yuans by giving a foreigner a high price, but value-wise this is a completely different act. Perhaps this is a positive outcome of the communist regime for us foreigners, i.e. the political, not the almost non-existing communist economy - While Chinese are often interested in (and are rather direct when asking about about) your salary and wealth, there is an endless track before such curiosity is translated into crime.

A Chinese who assists you on the street will seldom ask (or agree to receive) money in return, and even the poorest man or woman usually possesses some pride and wouldn't ask for money unless he or she has sold you something or given you a well recognized service. In most 3rd world countries the situation differs distinctly. One who visits China immediately after making a trip to India will indeed experience a positive 'culture shock' in these aspects.

So always keep your wallet in the sight of the surrounding people, don't ever lock your hotel room and don't forget the share your credit card information with every new Chinese friend - If you push it, the above post could be proved to be worthless; better first keep your eyes open and then see if your valuable can feel safe between the Chinese crowds.

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