*TIPS ::            

*Sample photos of Goodwill/Business Delegation trip to Asia:  <click-to-see-enlarged-photos>

Taiwan Presidential Office <<Click for enlarged photo>> China Congress  <<Click for enlarged photo>>China Foreign Ministry <<Click for enlarged photo>>

(In Taiwan, Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez & delegation meet President Chen, Sui-bien) 

(In BeiJing, Congresswoman introduces Asian American Business Directory to PRC leaders)

(Meeting with PRC leaders, China to U.N. Ambassador ) 

Taiwan Economy Ministry <<Click for enlarged photo>>Hong Kong border <<Click for enlarged photo>>HK tour <<click for enlarged photo>>

(Meeting with Taiwan leaders)                        

(Meeting with Hong Kong boarder/custom officers)   (Hong Kong tour)

                                   (Great Wall tour) 

(In Shenzen, Lee Godown presents Asian American Business Directory to PRC leaders)

       (Shanghai Stock Market)                             (China Emperial Palace)

(Visiting YangZhou, hometown of PRC Chairman Jiang, Ze-min)

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Dear friends:

On behalf of WTOBO, Asian Business Coalition, Sino-American Goodwill Association (SAGA) as well as Chinese American Chamber of Commerce (CACC) I would like to attribute the success of the Asia trip of Goodwill/Business Delegation (China, Taiwan, Hong Kong) to the following folks:

.PRC government and LA General Consulate(Amb. Lan & staff). Special thanks for Amb. Lee & PDS team. 

.Taiwan government and TECO in D.C. & LA(Dir.Gen.Yuan,Oliver Liao). 

.Hong Kong government (Sabrina Chow)

.Air China (Chen,X-H General Mgr. & staff)

.China Air (Wendy Chow)

.Special thanks for the excellent leadership of Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, excellent team work and support done by Lee Godown and Anita Tu, excellent support by Joanne Sokolski (Orange County Protocal) and excellent sponsors of SAGA, ACS, CACC, AMG, CABD, Disneyland and WTOBO .

The success of promoting business as well as goodwill relations during the Asia trip could not have been achieved without these folks and many other friends and colleagues working behind the scene.

.Thank You all

  

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Tips for Travelers to the People's Republic of China

The information in this pamphlet has been gathered for you by consular officers - both in the Department of State and in the People's Republic of China - to assist you with your trip. We hope this brochure will be of help to you in making your trip both safe and enjoyable.


About China

China is the oldest continuous major world civilization, with records dating back over 4,500 years. Successive dynasties developed a system of bureaucratic control which gave the agrarian-based Chinese an advantage over neighboring nomadic and hill cultures. Chinese civilization was further strengthened by the development of a common written language that bridged the gaps among the country's many local languages and dialects.

There are several major Chinese dialects and many subdialects. The Beijing dialect, often called Mandarin (or Putonghua), is taught in all schools and is the medium of government. Almost two-thirds of Han Chinese are native speakers of Mandarin; the rest, concentrated in southwest and southeast China, speak one of the other major Chinese dialects.

China's population in mid-1995 was over 1.2 billion, with an estimated growth rate of 1.2%. The largest ethnic group is the Han Chinese, who constitute about 93% of the total population. The remaining 7% are Zhuang (16 million), Manchu (9 million), Hui (8 million), Miao (8 million), Uygur (7 million), Yi (7 million), Tibetan (5 million), Mongol (5 million), and Korean (1 million).

China is full of natural and man-made wonders. Its great rivers include the Yellow and the Yangtze. There are also many mountain ranges including the Himalayas along the southern border of Tibet and the Kunlun Mountains stretching east and west along Tibet's northern edge. Part of the Gobi desert is located in China's Inner Mongolia.

China's most popular man-made wonder is the Great Wall. The Great Wall was built in the 3rd century B.C. (completed in 204 B.C.). It extends for about 1500 miles from Gansu province to the Bohai Gulf. The wall averages 20 to 50 feet high and 15 to 25 feet thick. The actual length, including branches and windings, is more than 2000 miles.

Entry and Other Visa Requirements

To enter the People's Republic of China, a U.S. citizen must have a valid U.S. passport and P.R.C. visa Most tourist visas are valid for only one entry. Travelers required a new visa for additional entries into China. Chinese authorities fine those who arrive without a visa up to 5,000 renminbi (about $600 U.S.) at the port of entry and may not allow them to enter China.

An application for a business visa should include an invitation from the applicant's host or counterpart in China.

Tourist visas for individuals are routinely issued at Chinese embassies or consulates abroad. Expedited processing is often available for an increased fee or by working through a Chinese tour operator.

Apply for a visa at the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C., or at a Chinese consulate in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, or San Francisco. (Addresses are listed at the end of this pamphlet.) At this time, the cost of a visa for China is $30 (not including fees for expedited handling). To apply, each person must send an application form, valid passport, two photographs and the fee. U.S. citizens applying for visas outside the United States may be requested to fill out visa application forms both in English and in Chinese.

Whether you visit on your own or with a tour, allow several weeks for visa processing. The Chinese Embassy and consulates in the United States often require 10 working days to process visas.

In addition to the requirements above, long-term visitors to China may be required to provide evidence of an AIDS test. Negative HIV exam results are required for students, teachers, and visiting scholars who plan to stay 9 months or more and for business persons who plan to stay over a year. If this applies to you, you may have the medical exam done in the United States using blank forms issued by the Chinese Embassy or a consulate. However, the test results must indicate the test was done by a government facility such as your states health department or, if done at a private health facility, the results must be notarized by a notary public. Attach your photograph to the test form. The notary seal should be applied to the photograph and it should run off on to the page.

While You Are in China

All American citizens visiting China for a month or more are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy in Beijing or the nearest U.S. consulate. Registration will assist our posts in China in locating you in the event of an emergency back home or in replacing a lost or stolen passport. You should also photocopy the data page of your passport and keep it in a separate place from your passport. In the event that your passport is lost, stolen, or in the possession of government officials, travel agents or tourism representatives, you will have the requisite information available, as well as proof of your identity and citizenship.

Customs Regulations

Foreign visitors to the People's Republic of China are allowed to import 4 bottles of wine or spirits and 600 cigarettes along with their personal belongings. Items such as watches, radios, cameras, and calculators imported duty free for personal use may not be transferred or sold to others. Gifts and articles carried on behalf of others must be declared to the customs inspector and are subject to duty.

Chinese customs regulations prohibit the import or export of the following items:

(a) arms, ammunition, and explosives;

(b) radio transmitter-receivers and principal parts;

(c) Chinese currency (renminbi);

(d) books, films, records, tapes, etc. which are "detrimental to China's politics, economy, culture, and ethics" (e.g. pornographic or religious content)

(e) poisonous drugs and narcotics;

(f) infected animal or plant products; and

(g) infected foodstuffs.

Note: Videotapes may be confiscated by Chinese customs to determine that they do not violate prohibitions noted in item (d), above. Tapes are sometimes held for several months before being returned. (There is no guarantee that they will ever be returned.)

Export of the following items is also prohibited:

(a) valuable cultural relics and rare books relating to Chinese history, culture, and art;

(b) rare animals, rare plants and their seeds; and

(c) precious metals and diamonds and articles made from them.

Antiques and imitations which are approved for export are marked with a red wax seal.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, improper glazing of some dinnerware for sale in China can cause lead contamination in food. Therefore, unless you have proof of its safety, dinnerware purchased in China should be used for decorative purposes only. Chinese commercial shipments of dinnerware to the United States are tested to conform to U.S. safety standards.

Movie cameras and videotaping equipment should be declared upon entry into China.

Crime

China has a low crime rate; however crime has increased in the past few years, principally in the major cities. U.S. citizens and other foreigners have seldom been victims of violent crime.

Currency Regulations

Chinese currency is called yuan or, more commonly, renminbi (RMB).

Foreign currency (cash or traveler's checks) may be exchanged for Chinese currency at licensed exchange facilities of the Bank of China and other authorized banks.

Money exchange facilities are available at major airports, hotels, and department stores. Major brands of traveler's checks are accepted at such exchange facilities and cash advances against a credit card can be arranged, a service charge is usually added. Consult with your bank before departing the United States to be sure that your brand of check or credit card will be accepted. Major credit cards (American Express, Mastercard and Visa) are accepted by most major hotels and in many well-known restaurants.

Legal Matters

While in China, a U.S. citizen is subject to Chinese laws and regulations. Laws in China sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and do not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Exercise caution and carefully obey local laws. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating the law, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Chinese laws prohibit public demonstrations without a valid permit obtained from the Chinese Public Security Bureau in the city where the demonstration is planned.

Chinese authorities have seized documents, literature, and letters which they deem to be pornographic or political in nature or those which are intended for religious proselytizing. If you seek to enter China with religious materials in a quantity greater than what is considered needed for personal use, you could be detained and fined. Religious proselytizing or passing out of religious materials is strictly forbidden. Americans suspected of engaging in such activities have been fined, arrested or deported. Magazines with photographs considered commonplace in Western countries, including some advertisements, may be regarded as sexually explicit pornography. Books, films, records, tapes, etc., which are "detrimental to China's politics, economy, culture, and ethics" will be seized by Chinese Customs to determine that they do not violate these prohibitions.

American citizens should be aware that foreign visitors and residents in China have sometimes been detained and heavily fined for having improper sexual relations with Chinese citizens. In most of these cases, the foreigners involved had invited Chinese citizens to their hotel rooms. Any U.S. citizen who is detained by Chinese authorities for questioning regarding this or any other violation of Chinese law or regulations should notify the U.S. Embassy or nearest U.S. consulate as soon as possible.

Under the U.S. -P.R.C. Consular Convention of 1980, U.S. consular officers shall be notified if a U.S. citizen is arrested or detained no later than four days after the arrest or detention. Under the Convention, U.S. consular officers must be informed upon request of the reasons for the arrest or detention and have a right to visit the citizen after a formal request is made by the consular officer. U.S. consular officers cannot serve as attorneys or give legal advice. They can, however, provide a list of local English speaking attorneys you may retain and help you find legal representation.

U.S. citizens are encouraged to carry photocopies of their passport data and photo pages with them at all times so that, if questioned by P.R.C. officials, proof of U.S. citizenship is readily available. (Do not carry your original passport with you. Your passport and other valuables should be placed in a hotel safety deposit box.) U.S. citizens have rights to consular access under the U.S. - P.R.C. Consular Convention and should insist upon contact with the U.S. Embassy or one of the U.S. consulates general. If you are denied this right, continue to protest.

Criminal penalties for possession, use, or trafficking of illegal drugs in China are strict. Convicted offenders may receive severe jail sentences and fines.

Dual Nationality

China does not recognize dual nationality. U.S. citizens who are also Chinese nationals have experienced difficulty entering and departing China on U.S. passports, and some U.S. passports have been seized by Chinese authorities. Dual nationals may be subject to Chinese laws which impose special obligations. Such persons are often required to use Chinese documentation to enter China. The United States requires that all U.S. citizens enter and depart the United States on U.S. passports. Dual nationals who enter and depart China using a U.S. passport and a valid P.R.C. visa retain the right of U.S. consular access and protection under the U.S.-P.R.C. Consular Convention. The ability of the U.S. Embassy or consulates general to provide normal consular services would be extremely limited should a dual national enter China on a Chinese or other passport. China does not recognize the U.S. citizenship of children born in China, when one of the parents is a P.R.C. national. Such children are required to depart China on P.R.C. travel documents. Children born in the United States to P.R.C. national parents, who are neither lawful permanent residents nor U.S. citizens, are not recognized as U.S. citizens under Chinese nationality law. Although Chinese consulates have frequently issued visas to such individuals in error, they are treated solely as P.R.C. nationals by Chinese authorities when in China. Before traveling to China, dual nationals should contact the Office of Overseas Citizens Services at (202) 647-6769 or the U.S. Embassy in Beijing (see address at end of this booklet) for additional information.

Passport Confiscation and Business Disputes

U.S. citizens conducting business in China are advised to be vigilant in investigating the companies they plan to work with to ensure they are reputable or to learn whether a prior history of disputes exists.

The confiscation of foreign passports of persons involved in business disputes has increased in China in recent years frequently resulting in individuals being placed under house arrest or unable to leave China until the dispute is satisfactorily resolved. As a valid Chinese visa is required in order to depart China, obtaining a replacement for a confiscated U.S. passport will not facilitate exiting the P.R.C. and the Chinese government will block your departure.

Adoptions

After completing lengthy pre-adoption procedures in the United States, Americans wishing to adopt a child in China can expect to spend at least two weeks there to complete the adoption. Current adoption information can be obtained by calling the U.S. Department of State's Office of Children's Issues at (202) 736-7000, or writing to that office in Room 4800, U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C. 20520. Once in China, and after the adoption has been completed the U.S. Consulate General in Guangzhou will process the immigrant visa to enable you to bring your newly adopted child back to the United States. Consult the Consulate for further details to arrange an interview appointment.

Health

Information on health precautions for travelers can be obtained in the United States from local health departments, private doctors, travel clinics, and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention's international travelers hotline at (404) 332-4559. For China, immunizations are recommended for hepatitis B and Japanese B encephalitis. (Immunization for Japanese B encephalitis is only recommended during the epidemic summer months for visitors planning to stay longer than two or three weeks in rural areas.) An immune globulin shot may offer protection against hepatitis A. Malaria occurs in China, particularly in rural areas and in southern China. Depending on the season and your destination, you may need to take antimalarial drugs, use insect repellant, and take other measures to reduce contact with mosquitoes.

There are no Western-style pharmacies stocked with drugs common in the United States. Therefore, carry medications in hand luggage packed in their original and labelled containers to avoid emergencies should checked luggage go astray.

Foreign visitors who become ill in China are usually provided with the best medical care available in the country. Generally speaking, the doctors and nurses are qualified and competent, although hospital accommodations are spartan, medical technology is not up-to-date, and sanitary conditions problematic.

Hospital costs for non-Chinese visitors are similar to those charged for similar services in the United States. Prospective travelers should review their health insurance policies. If your policy does not provide coverage overseas, consider buying coverage that does. In addition, insurance covering medical evacuation is highly recommended. There are two internationally-recognized emergency medical assistance firms with representatives in Beijing:

Asia Emergency Assistance Ltd. (AEA)
14 Liangmahe South Road, 1/F
Beijing 100600
Tel: 462-9112
Fax: 462-9100

International SOS Assistance (SOS)
Kunlun Hotel, Office Suite 433
2 Xin Yuan Nan Lu, Beijing
Tel: 500-3419
Fax: 501-6048.

Such insurance is inexpensive (less than $100 for a 30 day visit). Without insurance, the cost of evacuation can be extremely high. For example, the estimated cost of evacuation, using a stretcher and a medical escort, from Beijing to San Francisco is over $20,000.

Tourist travel in China can be extremely strenuous and may be especially debilitating to someone in poor health. Tours often involve walking long distances and up steep hills. All visitors, especially those with a history of coronary/pulmonary problems, should have a complete medical checkup before making final travel plans. Plans should include rest time. Travelers should avoid overly full schedules which could lead to exhaustion or illness. China discourages travel by persons who are ill, pregnant, or of advanced age. Visa applicants over 60 are sometimes required to complete a health questionnaire. If medical problems exist, a letter from your physician in the United States explaining treatment and, if relevant, copies of your most recent electrocardiograms, would be helpful in case a medical emergency occurs in China.

Air pollution in the large cities is severe, particularly in winter. Respiratory ailments are common.

Visitors are advised not to drink tapwater in China. Hotels almost always supply boiled water that is safe to drink. Bottled water and carbonated drinks are readily available. Travelers should carry water purification tablets to use when neither boiled water nor bottled drinks are available.

Travel Arrangements Within China

Packaged tours, while often more expensive than self arranged travel, will insulate you from the difficulties of booking travel by air, rail, bus or car in China. Transportation systems have not expanded as fast as the number of Chinese and international travelers has increased. Planes and trains are often overbooked.

Tickets or reservations for onward travel should be reconfirmed at each stop. Hotels, for a fee, will assist in making reservations and purchasing tickets.

Train travel can be difficult to reserve, even for the experienced traveler. Round trip rail tickets are not generally available without the services of a travel agency. Beware of counterfeit train tickets. Unethical entrepreneurs manufacture and sell such tickets at railway stations.

Restricted Areas

Visitors to China should be aware that Chinese regulations strictly prohibit travel in "closed" areas without special permission. However, over 1,200 cities and areas in China are open to visitors without special travel permits, including most major scenic and historical sites. If you need to know if an area is open to travel without a permit, seek advice from the nearest Chinese embassy or consulate, or, if you are already in China, from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, the nearest U.S. consulate, or the local Chinese public security bureau. (See addresses at the end of the document.)

Travel to Tibet

Americans visiting Tibet, whether individually or in tour groups, must obtain permission in advance from the Tibet Travel Bureau. U.S. should be aware that all areas of the region are closed to foreign traveler except for Lhasa, Shigatze (Xigaze), Naqu, Zedong, Zhang Muxkhasa, and the main roads between these points. Special permission to visit any of the closed areas must be obtained from the regions public security bureau. Travel arrangements booked through Chinese travel agencies will include necessary advance approvals. Occasionally, visitors have been refused admission or had difficulty entering Tibet from Nepal. In addition, the Kathmandu/Lhasa Highway that connects Nepal and Tibet can be washed out in the monsoon season, from June through September. Avoid this road during the monsoon. You should also be aware that foreign travelers have been the victims of robberies on this road.

Virtually all of the Tibetan autonomous region, much of Qinghai and Xinjiang, and parts of Sichuan, Yunnan, and Gansu are above 13,000 feet (4,000 meters) in altitude. Some main roads in Tibet, Qinghai, and Xinjiang go above 17,000 feet (5,200 meters), where available oxygen is only half of that at sea level. Conditions in Tibet are primitive, and travel there can be particularly arduous. Medical facilities are practically nonexistent. Many otherwise healthy visitors to the high altitude areas may suffer severe headaches, nausea, dizziness, shortness of breath, or a dry cough. These symptoms usually disappear after a few days of acclimatization. However, if symptoms persist, sufferers should descend to a lower altitude, or seek medical assistance as soon as possible. Visitors with respiratory or cardiac problems should avoid such high altitudes. Consult a physician before making the trip.

Travel on the Trans-Siberian Express

If you wish to take the Trans-Siberian railway from Beijing to Europe, you must obtain visas for Mongolia, Russia and other countries en route. Plan ahead. The Mongolian Consulate in Beijing is only open a few hours per week.

Chinese Embassy and Consulates in the United States

Embassy of the People's Republic of China
2300 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
(202) 328-2517

Chinese Consulate General
104 South Michigan Avenue, Suite 1200
Chicago, Illinois 60603
(312) 346-0287
Chinese Consulate General
3417 Montrose Boulevard
Houston, Texas 77006
(713) 524-4311
Chinese Consulate General
502 Shatto Place, Suite 300
Los Angeles, California 90020
(213) 380-2507 
Chinese Consulate General
520 12th Avenue
New York, New York 10036
(212) 279-4275
   

U.S. Embassy and Consulates in China

Note: APO and FPO addresses may only be used for mail originating in the United States. When you use an APO or FPO address, do not include the local street address.
People's Republic of China

American Embassy
2 Xiu Shui Dong Jie
Beijing 100600
Tel: (86-10) 532-3831 ext. 249, (86-10) 532-1910 (after hours)
Fax: (86-10) 532-3178

Mailing address:
PSC 461
Box 50
FPO AP 96521-0002

American Consulate General
1 South Shamian Street
Guangzhou 510133
Tel: (86-20) 886-2418 or (86-20) 886-2402 ext. 256,
(86-20) 930-3004 (after hours)
Fax: (86-20) 886-2341

Mailing address:
PSC 461
Box 100
FPO AP 96521-0002

American Consulate General
1469 Huaihai Zhong Lu
Shanghai 200031
Tel: (86-21) 433-6880, (86-21) 433-3936 (after hours)
Fax: (86-21) 433-4122

Mailing address:
PSC 461
Box 200
FPO AP 96521-0002

American Consulate General
Number 52, 14th Wei Road
Shenyang 110003
Tel: (86-24) 282-0038, 0048, 0068 or 0074, same as above (after hours)
Fax: (86-24) 282-0074 
American Consulate General
Number 4 Lingshiguan Road
Chengdu 610041
Tel: (86-28) 558-9642, (86-28) 901-1899 (after hours)
Fax: (86-28) 558-3520 
   


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