The Shanghai Call Center, which has a 24/7 expat-focussed hotline service that offers support in over 10 foreign languages, has been terminated. This revelation was reported on a Shanghai subreddit, and confirmed to SmartShanghai today, with no specific reasons given.
Luckily, Shanghai has another English-language help hotline that's offering almost the same services. Call 12345, then for English press 7; you will be asked to press the 'number sign', which means the pound key (#). Services are only offered in Chinese and English, however, they claim to be able to connect to volunteers speaking French, German, Italian, Spanish, Korean, Russian and Arabic. We have yet to test these services.
The hotline is run by the city government, as a service for residents to help with anything related to either public or civil services. Examples include complaints about public aid, issues with community management, local regulations (driving, COVID-19, etc.), HR and Labor conflicts. You can also ask general questions about the city, such as how to deal with registrations and licenses. You can even ask about the opening hours of venues, such as Bar Rouge, but fortunately, there's a much better resource available for this. Shine frequently reports about the most common complaints being made to the hotline; Slow food delivery, food safety, failure to redeem coupons are just some of the biggest issues listed after 2021's Chinese New Year holiday.
The hotline operates 8am-8pm. If you attempt to contact outside of these hours, then the call will be transferred to volunteers who can help translate issues.
Another useful hotline is Shanghai Lifeline, a volunteer-run, non-profit English-language crisis line that you can call if you are in a personal emergency.