Chinese tourists advised to play it safe

Updated: 2014-06-23 11:53

By Chang Jun in San Francisco (China Daily USA)

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Tourism safety remains an important issue for the Chinese Consulate General in San Francisco and all his staff will work closely with local law enforcement and travel agencies to make sure that Chinese tourists will enjoy their stay in the Bay Area with safety, said a Chinese diplomat at a seminar sponsored by the consulate.

Yuan Nansheng, consul general in San Francisco, emphasized at the seminar held on June 19 at the Chinese Consulate General in San Francisco that prevention was the best strategy to protect Chinese nationals traveling abroad from any possible danger.

"As the China-US relationship advances on a healthy and positive track, we see the two nations continue deepening exchanges and cooperation in many fields," said Yuan, adding that about 1.8 million Chinese visited the US in 2013, a 23 percent increase over 2012.

China and the US are both benefiting from a dynamic and vibrant relationship, said Yuan, although tourism safety and consular protection are still matters of concern.

Consular protection has become a key issue in China's diplomatic affairs in recent years, said Yuan.

"The Chinese government always attaches great importance to the safety and legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens and nationals," Yuan said.

This year, China responded to the missing Malaysia Airline MH370 flight in March by joining a multi-national, all-around search for the 153 Chinese passengers onboard. In May, the Chinese government organized massive evacuation of its nationals from violence-plagued Vietnam, where one Chinese worker was killed in riots.

In July, 2013, consul officers at the San Francisco Consulate General worked around the clock in the aftermath of the crash landing of Asiana Airlines flight 214 which resulted in the deaths of three Chinese students headed for summer camp.

"We were busy with conducting consular assistance and protection of our children, and extending help to families of the deceased for their US trip," said Yuan.

As students in China are about to wrap up their semesters and get ready for a two-month summer break, San Francisco should expect to receive many more Chinese tourists soon, said Song Ruan, deputy consul general in San Francisco.

"We are hopeful that tourists from China will have a safe and pleasant stay in the Bay Area. To achieve this, we will work closely with travel agencies, police departments and individuals," he said.

Captain David Lazar of the San Francisco Police Department cautioned Chinese tourists to watch out for their smartphones and iPads, and always be aware of their surroundings.

To not fall victim to street crimes, robbery, burglary and theft, tourists need to pay attention to their belongings, lock the doors of hotel rooms and never leave items of value in rental cars, said Lazar, adding that his team has Cantonese- and Mandarin-speaking policemen watching neighborhoods and monitoring suspicious individuals.

"Please trust police officers and please report crimes to us. We do want to work with everyone," he added.

Lazar also cautioned Chinese tourists about ATM scams. "Always remember to log out of your account and make sure you answered no to the question of 'Do you want another transaction?'," he said.

In unpleasant and unfortunate circumstances, remember to seek assistance from the San Francisco Consulate General, said Li Chunfu, a consul in charge of affairs of overseas Chinese citizens and nationals. "We are here to help," he said.

 Chinese tourists advised to play it safe

San Francsco Police Captain David Lazar (right) briefs attendees at a seminar on tourism safety at the Chinese Consulate General in San Francisco on June 19. As students in China are about to wrap up their studies and visit the US during their summer break, tourism safety becomes important in the US major cities like San Francisco. From left: Song Ruan, deputy consul general, Yuan Nansheng, consul general, and Lazar. Chang Jun / China Daily

(China Daily USA 06/23/2014 page2)