Published on December 14th, 2011 | by Paz19
Is China Safe to live in?
Is China safe to live in and raise your children? Are we afraid of people stealing our children? Keep a close eye on your children…you never know what can happen in China!! We hear these comments and questions all the time. So I thought we should answer them.
The recent shootings at a beautiful school in a beautiful town of Virginia inspired me to write this article. Our thoughts and prayers go out to that community and hope that there isn’t more violence.
Are we more or less safe in China? What are we afraid of in China?
We live in a local Chinese neighborhood. We are one of four foreign families that live on our block and remember it is all high rises. There are probably a million people living on our block alone. We can’t read or understand any of the signs in our neighborhood and things are dirt cheap. Basically we live among the locals…except our apartment building is one of the nicest in the area. We like our western toilet and shower.
Do we feel safe? Has anyone tried to steal our kids? Have we been robbed?
Let me share our real experiences.
Do we feel safe?
First, Chinese society is a non-aggressive society. Even when they are mad it escalates to screaming and yelling in faces and well that is about it. That is not to say that people don’t get in brawls or fist fights don’t happen, but for the most part you don’t see people fighting. You see TONS of yelling in people’s faces…but then they both turn and walk away. I am sure they are doing the usual insulting of your mother and your family, maybe even talking about how small the others’ genitals are, but they don’t throw too many punches considering how heated the arguments get.
Most of the violence is domestic, as it is in most societies. If you mix with the wrong people doing the wrong things then you kind of get yourself in trouble. In China there is a lot of domestic violence. It is said that 1/3rd of the population has experienced some sort of domestic violence. Yes, we are talking about husbands beating their wives and children. This is something that is not greatly frowned upon and is commonly known. Everyone here knows someone who is in an abusive relationship. However, very little is done about it.
Violence against foreigners. It is good to know that if a Chinese National commits a crime against a foreigner the penalty is tripled. So if you committed that same crime against one of your countrymen your penalty would be much less. We all know about China’s punishment system…so let’s just say harming a foreigner isn’t worth it.
Has anyone tried to steal our kids?
I am obviously very happy to report, NO!! Once after we first hired our nanny we went out for a walk and left only our youngest blue eyed child with her. We came back and they were gone!! We didn’t know where they were and I will admit all the CNN stories started flashing through my eyes and I almost threw up. We called her and they were on the first floor of our building playing. It was too nice of a day to stay inside. She was right. It was.
Here they are playing in the park and this woman just happened to have a baby duck in her bag for the kids to play with….that is another post.
Should you worry about someone stealing your kids?
No more than you would in your own country. In the U.S. there is also a lot of child trafficking and kidnapping. We advise people to always contact your babysitters/nanny’s references prior to leaving them with your children for long periods of time and then taking it slow. Don’t go away for two days the first time they are coming to watch your child. The same common sense that you would use in your own hometown.
A local amusement park. Who knows where they think they are going.
Why China is safer for your children?
- Now after 8 months of living here we think that China is actually safer for our kids. Why? Considering most Chinese have very similar physical features we stand out A LOT. Everyone knows who we are and who should and shouldn’t be with our kids. They are very friendly with our children and we believe that if our children were in any sort of danger or needed anything would help.
- China’s strict child policy. If there is one thing that China does care about it is the amount of children that you have. They keep a close eye on it and have created a million different processes to check and recheck everyone all the time. So, the idea of someone stealing one of our kids and keeping them would also mean that they would have to go through a lot of red tape and it would be extremely expensive. Another child on the block is not something that goes unnoticed…especially a foreign one.
- China loves children. They are very understanding when our son screams or kicks and no one ever gives a disapproving glance on the subway or bus when they are obviously annoyingly loud. Everyone stops to take pictures with them and they receive gifts from the neighborhood on a regular basis. Almost every time we go out they we come back with a little something that one of the store owners gave them. Yup, they get spoiled.
Have we been robbed or pick pocketed?
NO!, But I know many people who have been pick pocketed. That is the most common offense and yes it happens all the time. People don’t even know it has happened until they get to the office and find their wallet or phone missing. Those are the most common items to be stolen.
They are hot commodities. Most of the time your are pick pocketed on a busy bus, subway or when you are walking down the street not paying any attention to what is going on around you. Carry a bag with a zipper and keep it zipped. That is the lesson.
Guns in China?
You cannot own a gun in China. It is plain and simple. That is considered a serious offense and punished to the fullest extent.
That comment perhaps foreshadowed the gun control laws later implemented by Mao and the Communist Party – some of the most severe firearms laws in the world. China has imposed a blanket ban on gun ownership, including replicas. Since 1966, the government has prohibited the private manufacture, sale, transport, possession and import or export of bullets and guns.Possessing a single gun can yield a three-year prison sentence, while perpetrators of gun crimes are often executed.
So as you can guess it isn’t beneficial to mess around with guns in China. No NRA membership here.
I will say that in choosing a country to move to we did think about the safety factor A LOT! I spoke to a few non-traveling Americans and they told me of CNN stories and reminded me of all the kidnapping and the injustice that happens to Americans across the globe. We got scared, we started letting other people’s fear influence our own fear. But, we moved anyways despite all of there comments and here is are our findings….
We feel very very safe in China and are happy we didn’t listen to all of those people that had no idea what they were talking about.
Step outside and see the world, it isn’t as dangerous as you think it is.
p.s. bring your kids too.