As a new law on public order comes into effect, China's Public Security Bureau is warning that foreigners who break the law can be and will be deported.
The Law on Penalties for Offenses against Public Order, which comes into being on March 1, provides guidelines on how to punish violators of 238 different offenses, said Wu Heping, spokesman of Public Security Ministry. The previous law listed 73 offences.
"The Ministry of Public Security will be granted more authority in disciplining offenders, including deporting foreigners who break the law," said Ke Liangdong, director of the legal affairs office of the ministry.
This is the first update of law in two decades and was required because of the dramatic rise in the number of foreigners in China and changes in Chinese society.
New offences include extreme cases of undermining social order under cover of religion, prostitution, living off the avails of prostitution and buying sex.
"It is possible for foreigners to be deported for any wrongful act named in the law," said Ke, adding that there is some flexibility and the circumstances of the incident will be taken into account.
He said, a foreign offender can also be fined or detained.
Ke said local police can not deport any one without the approval from the ministry of Public Security or local governments which are authorized by the ministry.
There are "many cases" of foreigners committing offences, said Wu Mingshan, an official with the public security ministry. "The most common offences involve prostitution, theft, and assault."
Wu said people with diplomatic privilege are exempted from the penalties of the law as they are in most countries.
Foreigners in China are expected to understand the new laws and the ministry is working on an English-language version of the text, he said.