The following emergency telephone numbers work in all areas of China:
- Police: 110
- Fire alarm: 119
- Medical care: 120 (or 999 in some places)
- Directory inquiries: 114
Calling these from a cell phone is free.
The country dialing code for mainland China is 86. Within the country, the patterns for numbers are as follows:
- Major cities with eight-digit numbers have a two-digit area code. For example, Beijing is (0)10 plus an eight-digit number. Other places use seven- or eight-digit local numbers and a three-digit area code that does not start with 0, 1 or 2. So for example: (0)756 plus 7 digits for Zhuhai. The north uses small numbers, the south has larger numbers.
- Normal cell phones do not need an area code. The numbers are composed of 130 to 132 plus 8 digits (China Unicom, GSM), 133 plus 8 digits (China Unicom, CDMA) or 134 to 139 plus 8 digits (China Mobile, GSM).
- Some mobile phones (小灵通 xiǎo língtōng) work only in one city. These have numbers that look exactly like land line numbers for their cities. They are the cheapest choice, both for cost of phone and for usage fees, but not flexible enough for most travellers. The technology is neither GSM nor CDMA, but basically a wireless phone on steroids called PHS.