8 Most Dangerous Cities in China

Updated On October 10, 2023

Large cities always have areas that may not be perfectly safe, especially for travelers who may not be familiar with the area.

The same is true with China where cities tend to be extremely large.

Even given that, the cities themselves tend to be very safe, particularly in the tourist areas.

The government has worked on developing urban areas and modernizing the country.  

In most cities, pickpocketing is the most prevalent crime.

So choosing where you travel or decide to live, look closely into each city for any information about areas to avoid.

Most Dangerous Cities in China



Chongqing into a very vibrant trading center early in its history.

With a population of 35 million people, the city sprawls over 38,000 miles.

Compared to other cities, it has a high crime rate.

Most crimes are the result of poverty, so they include burglary, theft, and pickpockets.

While it is a beautiful modern city, it’s important to watch any belongings.

If necessary, use available lockers and be careful walking at night or in crowded areas.



As a city that is known for its cultural offerings and its history, many people avoid the city for its connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before traveling to this city, be sure to check the status of the city and any considerations that you need to protect your health before you travel.

While the crime rate is pretty low in Wuhan, crime has increased in the last three years.

Most crimes include having items stolen, and corruption.

Even drug dealing, violent assaults, and attacks on people are not that high.

It’s most important to protect your health when traveling and use common sense to protect your personal items.



As the capital of China, there are so many things to explore and experience in Beijing.

With 22 million people, most are of Han or Manchu descent.

With such a large population, many of the tourist areas such as Tiananmen Square put people at risk for petty theft and pickpocketing.

Many will also run scams, particularly in tourist areas.



Shanghai is a popular destination for tourists and business travelers.

As a modern, cosmopolitan city, it is dramatically different from many other Chinese cities.

This is the result of its beginning as a hub for business and the financial sector.

Aside from this, visitors will also be treated to many historic sites and lively nightlife.

However, visitors need to be aware of the potential for petty theft.

Pickpocketing is prevalent but so are petty crimes of opportunity.

This means that visitors need to be aware of their surroundings and keep an eye on their personal items such as wallets and purses, as well as purchases.  



With a population of 17 million people, some consider this city to be one of the most dangerous.

Originally known as Canton, this southern China city is a major trading hub.

It has a rich cultural history. 

Large cities often have crime problems, but this large city does have an issue with currency, shopping, and taxi scams, particularly around tourist areas and hotels.

About 30,000 incidents are reported each year.

This is the result of wide poverty and slum areas, although the city is on the road to becoming much more prosperous alleviating some of these problems.

Many migrants and farmers were drawn to the area with the promise of work and found little. 

The government has taken steps to lower poverty rates and increase employment opportunities which are beginning to turn things around.

Yarkant County
Yarkant County

Yarkant County

About 851,000 people live in this western area.

Predominantly Uighur people with a small amount of Han Chinese.  

The Uighur people have long fought for independence from the Chinese government.

This has led to what could be considered terrorist attacks from separatist groups.

While this struggle has gone on for a number of years, it is increasingly violent.

Attacks include organized shootings and explosions.

This makes it a place that travelers should not visit for safety reasons.

Many people are drawn to the area for its location on the Silk Road, but considerations should be made before taking trips into this area.



Located in Guangdong Province, the city has a population of 17.5 million.

It is well known as a worldwide technology hub.

In its fast-paced economy, there is still the issue of crime.

Like many other Chinese cities that includes pickpocketing and crimes of opportunity. 

Keep your personal items close to you and watch any packages that you have, particularly in tourist or other crowded areas.

It is not uncommon for bags to be snatched.

Many also recommend using the metro system over taxis.

While the focus may be on tourist areas, locals also take measures to keep themselves safe from crime.

This often means not going out after 8 pm.

For locals, this can make having time for recreation limited.

Take precautions if you visit this city to prevent experiencing any unfortunate crimes while there.

If you feel that you are being watched or targeted, it’s best to leave the area and get somewhere safer.



Purchasing guns in China is difficult, but there have been experiences where explosives were used in the commission of crimes. 

A prime example occurred in 2015 when a series of explosives were detonated.

This event injured 51 individuals and left seven people dead.

CNN covered this event where it was discovered that a person used couriers to send letter bombs to a variety of institutions ranging from hospitals to public entities.

While this may be a single event, it demonstrates the rise of hostility and danger in the city.

Murder, theft, rape, and assaults often occur in the area.

Also, many report feeling tension from the police rather than a sense of security.

Beyond crime, the city is also crippled by traffic congestion.

This results in many car wrecks and deaths each year.

Safety Tips for Traveling in China

Traveling in China is generally safe, however, there are a few tips to ensure that your travel goes well.

  1. Avoid confrontations with locals. Generally, the Chinese avoid confrontations but sometimes, particularly at night when some people have been drinking, fights and arguments can occur. Avoid them.
  2. Protect your valuables. This means protecting your purse or wallet and doesn’t leave purchases unattended or where they can be grabbed. It’s also a good idea to have your hotel’s name written down in Mandarin and English so that if you need to leave quickly, your cab driver will understand where you need to go.
  3. Be aware of tourist traps and scam artists. In tourist areas, you will be swarmed with people selling touristy items. Most are fine, but these will be cheaply made items. Some of the other scams involve inviting tourists to nightclubs. This is never a good idea. At times, a person may swap genuine banknotes with fake ones. This is common with street vendors and illegal taxi drivers. Just be aware that this can happen.
  4. When you need it, ask for help from locals. If you are on a tour, the guide will be able to help.  Your hotel will also be able to assist with any problems or concerns.
  5. Be careful about the taxis you choose. Some of these may be illegal and should be avoided. Unlicensed taxi drivers often have vehicles that are in poor condition and will attempt to follow you. You are at risk of them swapping your real cash for fake banknotes.

China Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: China Safety Review

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I protect valuable purchases I make during my travels in China?

For jewelry and small items, most hotel rooms have a safe that you can use.

For larger items, such as porcelain, paintings, and embroideries, most shops will ship them home for you so that you don’t have to worry about them.

Another tip that really helps is mailing home your dirty clothes.

It has to be marked as personal goods, and you cannot send anything you have purchased, but it frees up space in your suitcase.

The next tip is that while you are traveling in the country, you can only have two suitcases, however, when you leave to go home, you can have three.

Inexpensive suitcases are available everywhere on the street for incredibly low prices.

This gives you more room for smaller, less expensive items that you have purchased.

I don’t speak the language, so how can I remain safe?

Carry your hotel’s business card with you at all times.

Make sure that it has the name and address in Mandarin and English if you need it.

If you feel uncomfortable, you will be able to get a cab, show them the information and get out of the situation.

If you are traveling with a tour group, make sure that your guide knows where you are going and how to get ahold of them if the group splits up.

When is the best time of year to visit China?

Visiting China is popular throughout the year.

Realize though that during the summer months, popular tourist spots and hotels will be very crowded.

Visiting during ‘shoulder seasons’ such as November and December or later in spring will not only save money on flights and hotels, you won’t be part of the bustling crowds.

For the most part, traveling in China is relatively safe if you are pragmatic and follow common sense rules.

Violent crime, such as murder has declined by 30% in recent years.

If you are traveling in a group, stay in touch with your tour guide if you decide to go off on a “free day”.

Be careful when traveling in areas that are highly populated by tourists or in hotel zones.

If you take certain steps, you’ll enjoy the wonders and joys of China without the fear of crime.

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