CHOICE membership

Wendy Wu tours to China


#22

Thank you so much @peter7, much appreciated.:blush:


#23

Yes, @Gaby it is a very good idea. WeChat is avaliable for android and apple devices…

WeChat, while having one of the most users in the world (principally because it is Chinese), has reports that it isn’t overly secure and the Chinese government has backdoors to allow posted messages to be monitored. While this is not an issue for most, I would suggest that you don’t post anything using WeChat that criticises the government or is seen to be provocative to the Chinese.

It can be used outside China and your family and friends can also install it so you can keep in contact when in China. Calls through WeChat when connected to wifi can also be made.

The other thing is Google can be blocked in China…it was the last time we were there. If you use Google Maps, there are similar Chinese mapping apps/websites. Alternatively install an open street type GPS app before travelling. We use NavMap which is free and has Chinese open street sourced mapping.

There are many Chinese search engines such as http://www.baiduinenglish.com, and I beleive that some of the other western non-googke ones work in China as well. Maybe search for these before leaving and checking which ones work after your arrival.

It is also worth installing a translating app as well. One like Google translate will work offline (Chinese/Standardised Mandarin language datasets can be downloaded). There are also others available as well.

VPNs are also blocked so I woukd suggest that you don’t do anything which would usually require a secure onnection (e.g. internet banking) unless you can be guaranteed of a very secure connection.

If you plan to use credit cards, eventhough western ones are not widely accepted, make sure you tell your financial institution of your planned travel to China to ensure your card is not suspended through its use in China.


#24

Thank you @phb
When travelling I always follow my bank suggestion to let them know where and when I’m going to be.
Sometimes I use my Travel Card, but mostly I carry local currency for small purchases. I still have some USD from my last trip to the US, maybe I’ll exchange those there if the rate is good. And I always carry AUD with me.
Usually I avoid emailing, texting or calling,
too busy enjoying myself!


#25

(in China)

“do not work” would be a euphemism. I would assume that they are being censored (blocked) by the Chinese government.

Conversely, I would avoid installing any app provided by any Chinese company - unless it is on a burner phone. For example, official Australian Defence Department advice is not to install the WeChat app.

If possible, just enjoy your holiday without sharing it minute by minute on social media. Surprise everybody when you get home. :slight_smile:


#26

Thank you @person,
That’s what I usually do🙂


#27

The not is because the Wechat app has not undergone the usual testing and security assessment. When this is completed by the Defence, the current status may be reviewed based on the outcomes of the assessment (or may stay the same…being not supported by Defence IT.

As outlined in previous post, there are reports online that the CCP has backdoor access to WeChat posted messages to monitor information on the media. While these reports are not from government sources, but generally from critics of the CCP, it is suggested to be on the safe side not to post provocative or sensitive information which could be seen to agitate the CCP.

My understanding of the Android OS (unsure with Apple OS), once the appl has been removed that it previous activity on the phone/tablet is full removed. This is one of the advantages of the Android OS platform.

WeChat on Windows (or Apple) laptops may be a different matter as often drivers and other codes are left even after software removal.

There were also reports in the past of the US government scanning Skype data as well.

Alternative to Wechat and another messaging app that used to work (not sure if it still does) is Whatsapp. However, if it is accessible in China now, it doesn’t guarantee that it will be accessible when one is in China.

Alternatively, just use the old fashion email to correspond (as long as it isn’t gmail or others which can be access and is blocked by the Great China Firewall.


#28

I think it is because WeChat has undergone security assessment. :slight_smile:

Also, even if an app has been rigorously analysed and found to have no client-side vulnerabilities, that doesn’t mean that all future versions of the app will have the same security properties.

Taking any kind of device across an international border is rapidly becoming a fraught exercise. China may be the worst but other countries are catching down.

So first and foremost ask yourself whether you really need to take the device with you at all.


#29

I understand that it hasn’t been completed yet…and if it has as was found to be security issues, maybe hasn’t been released because of the diplomatic backlash from the government’s ban of Huawei 5G and handsets.

There appears there may be sensitivities to banning one of the world’s most popular messaging platforms.


#30

There are a variety of reasons that information relating to the security and/or use of a particular product is not made public.

The Australian Defence Department is yet to respond to Business Insider regarding why WeChat has been singled out for the ban, or when and under what circumstances it could be lifted.

It told the AFR that: “Defence does not provide or support the use of unauthorised software, including the WeChat social media application, on Defence mobile devices.”

“singled out” ? no, that’s journalistic beat-up. They refer to “Defence mobile devices” - I’d suggest it’s a matter of what is approved, not what is banned :wink: I’d be gobsmacked if it ever makes the approved product list. I’d be surprised if it was permitted on any rigorously maintained corporate device, unless said corporation had a defined business need to interact with people on that media platform.


#31

Re WeChat. I use it all the time because one of my sons lives in China. Works well. However, be aware that if anything goes wrong and it requires a password reminder, it will all be in Chinese. Easier to create a new one.
For social media use I use a VPN when there. Express VPN is a reliable one.


#32

If it has, it appears that either the opposition know/don’t know the results as they have been using WeChat for issuing messages in the past week.


#33

If the message is intended to be public anyway then perhaps the privacy concerns are reduced.


#34

Talked to my doctor about Travel immunisation before going to China in a few months. He asked me to think about having the Hepatitis A and the Typhoid one.
I’m only going to the big cities and for a short stay this time.
Any suggestions would be appreciated.


#35

Apart from any cost, why would you not get them.

Better safe than sorry.


#36

Thanks @Fred123,
it is costly, and was also thinking of possible allergic reaction, and that it gives only 99% protection :thinking:


#37

A couple of things…

  • This is what the Government’s SmartTraveller says…
    https://smartraveller.gov.au/Countries/asia/north/Pages/china.aspx

  • The CDC website is the one many medical professionals use when providing recommendations to travellers and should not be overlooked as a valuable resource…
    https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/clinician/none/china

  • Diseases don’t discriminate and the long term cost of having a preventable disease will be far greater than the costs of any vaccination.

  • Check your travel insurance policy t&cs. While I haven’t checked any for examples, I think that a insurer may be reluctant to provide cover for any preventable diseases, especially where a medical professional recommended medications/vaccinations to prevent the disease.

  • Getting a disease can spoil a holiday, especially if the symptoms of the disease occur when one is traveling.

  • Hygiene practices in other countries can be vastly different to those in Australia. The risks of infection can also be significantly higher for highly communicable diseases like Hepatitis A or through consumption of contaminated foods/waters.

The only ones we usually decide if needed are those transmitted by animals, such as malaria and rabies. Our own medical professional usually asks about where travel will be occuring within the country and likely expsoure/contact with animals. The risk of getting disease like rabies/malaria could be lower in some urban areas. Most highly communicable diseases don’t stay outside the urban fringes as they are transmitted through foods/water or person to person contact.

One would need to be very brave…or maybe another word which rhymes with cupid, if they ignore advice of medical professionals in relation to prevention of diseases when traveling.

Also, if you have private health insurance, see if any vaccinations are (partially) covered by your policy.


#38

Thank you, @phb, for your good advise. Much appreciated.:blush:


#39

I’m looking at the adapter I’ll need to recharge my IPhone while in China.
I can see that plug types there are: A,C,I;
as type I is the one we have here, do you think I can do without an adapter?
Or which type did you find useful over there? Your help will be much appreciated. :slightly_smiling_face:

BTW I’ve had my Hepatitis and Typhoid
vaccinations done recently, without complications :wink:


#40

If you are staying in hotels, a two pin Australian plug (type i) will most likely be available. The plugs in the bathroom will cater for most multinational plug types and often the hotels standard bedroom plus include type i as well. In our lsst trip in 2017, we didn’t need to use any adaptors as all our accommodation (serviced apartments and rural city hotels) all had type i available. One thing you will learn from travelling in China is there are usually not one standard for most things…and in some cases, anything goes.

If you are staying in a non-western style hotel the next most common will be a type A. It is suggested that a type a adaptor be taken as a back up, however these adaptors are very cheap to get when in China…or slightly more expensive here. Most supermarkets and general type stores in China will have these for a few dollars. As the Chinese use a comparable voltage to Australia, these plugs are usually a straight through wired plug (type i female directly wired to type a male).

If you think you may do more international travelling in the future, it may be worth buying a universal power plug adaptor like this one…they are small, light and means you only need one at home to take away with you. These are also availahle in China cheaply as well. A universal adaptor also particularly useful if travelling through multiple countries with multiple plugs (including stopovers which are often forgotten) as it saves trying to work out which ones to take with you. They are possibky safe under low loads (such as charging a phone or running a laptop), but I would be a little hesitant running high load devices such as heaters, jugs etc which may overload the plug or result in a fire/its failure.

Also, if you are taking your iphone to communicate with others back home, check that the apps you plan to use haven’t been blocked by the ‘great Chineses frewall’. There are a number of websites whcih as these which have updated lists…

Also, most VPNs also are blocked so using a VPN doesn’t necessarily provide a work around. If you use gmail for example, it may be worth setting up another (unblocked) email account and then forwarding all your gmail emails to this new one…just while in China.

Great that you have your vaccinations.

Note that non-Chinese credit card availability very limited and western credit cards shouldn’t be relied upon as the only way to pay for things in China. Most of the bigger banks (Bank of China, Agricultural Bank etc) will readily change Aussie Dollars with good rates. If changing, allow about 30 minutes as it can a little time especially if the bank is busy and if they don’t see AUD regularly (they will look up reference books to see the security measures on the notes and check before changing). You will need to take you passport with you for any currency changes.

Also, be adventurous and eat locally when in China…we personally avoid hotel food (except where breakfast is included in the tariff) and western restaurwnts/fast foods as the food is terrible. The old adage that if a restaurant is busy, it must be good applies in China. Even if the restaurant staff don’t speak English (it can be a little stressful the first time one goes out to face the communication barrier), they or other customers will make sure you are looked after and well fed. You will enjoy your culinary experience far more eating out…it is also cheap and food is far better than anything available in Australia.

Have a safe trip.


#41

Thank you @phb, much appreciated.
The Tour I’m with will be staying at Hotels
In Shanghai, Xian, Beijing ( Details to be confirmed in a few weeks).
All meals are included, but I’m sure I’ll find a way to venture out and try local restaurants. My Asian friend has been taking me out to a few Chinese restaurants in Melbourne to help me identify a few dishes, I especially enjoy the dumplings, and the fried -ice -cream ones are delicious!
I will be taking only my phone, can do without anything else for a while, and usually don’t use WIFI anywhere.
Unless it’s an emergency, my friends will have to wait to hear about my trip when I get back!
Will be flying out 31st of August, thank you for your good wishes🙂