What can’t I send via the post in China?

Images courtesy of China Post; composition by One Stop

China’s mail system is much less strictly controlled today than in the past, but there are still certain items that you’re not allowed to post, whether domestically or internationally. Pay attention to this list if you want to save a wasted trip to the post office – and be very cautious about online purchases.

Some of the items below can be purchased online and delivered safely, but this will have to be via a private courier (kuaidi) company rather than China Post or the state-run express EMS service. Check with vendors and seek confirmations from prior customers before diving into that purchase.

Remember that if you are getting China Post or EMS to pick up a parcel from your home for delivery, they will still need to look at the contents before they transport it.

Some of the items prohibited by EMS and China Post are obvious, some less so, but both will have qualms about:

  • Weapons and ammunition.
  • Items which are or may be explosive, inflammable, corrosive, radioactive, perishable or poisonous. Note that this includes popular consumer items such as perfume, hairspray, nail polish and alcohol.
  • Newspapers, periodicals and books deemed “detrimental to the interests of the People’s Republic of China”.
  • Currency of any sort.
  • Live animals (except properly packaged bees, silkworms and leeches).
  • Articles which may jeopardize personal safety, or which may contaminate or damage other postal materials if improperly packaged.
  • Traveler’s checks, gold, silver, platinum, precious stones, jewelry and other valuable articles (unless sent as insured mail).


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