Foreigners in China Find New Perils in Rising Crime

February 04, 1996|Associated Press

BEIJING — Foreigners venturing along well-beaten tourist paths in China probably have little to fear. But wandering alone is less safe than in the past.

Some recent reported incidents:

* A French tourist was found strangled on Mt. Taishan, a popular tourist spot, in September. She had been traveling on her own for about a month.

* A German tourist was wounded by a knife on Beijing's Tiananmen Square in late September. Police said the attacker was a mentally ill man.

* An Italian diplomat was found in October with his throat slashed in a swank residential hotel complex in Beijing.

Foreign students say they are more cautious now about riding public buses and taxis because of muggings and assaults.

Chinese cities still seem much safer than many Western ones and even some Asian ones.

But while gun ownership is forbidden, a huge black market in weapons--firearms smuggled in, stolen from the military or illegally manufactured--has made the streets less safe.

The U.S. State Department notes in its consular report that China's crime rate has risen in the last few years, usually affecting visitors in the form of thefts in crowded places.

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