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Tightening up on Foreigner Registration . . .


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Friend forwarded this to me, it went out on the British Embassy (Chongqing consulate, it looks like) mailing list for registered citizens. Not sure if the US and co. have issued anything similar. There's no link to an original, but will paste in the text below, with my own thoughts in between.

Hotel registration: No real change there from the actual point of view of the foreigner, but if having foreigners in your hotel means daily visits from the PSB, I wouldn't be surprised if those establishments which don't rely on overseas business become a lot less keen to take in foreigners.

Apartments: The onus on the management company to ensure the foreigner registers is I think new, and the sum of RMB 5,000 for the fine is new to me - previously failing to register was a maximum RMB 500 fine, so that's quite a big jump. I don't know how seriously they're going to take this, but if you can't crash out on a mate's sofa after a night out without the risk of an RMB 5,000 knock on the door in the morning then things are going a bit too far I feel. I'm not sure if there's any significance to the fact that it specifies 'expatriate employees'.

Original text:

Expatriate China Staff PSB Registrations To Be Enforced From 1st July

The Chinese Public Security Bureau issued new guidelines today to hotels and apartment management companies concerning the registration of foreigners in China, set to take effect July 1.

The PSB, a part of China' s domestic police force charged with policing public security and immigration residence registration and immigration affairs for foreigners, has insisted that the existing regulations for the registration of foreigners in China must be strictly adhered. Violators and those who fail to report, be they individuals or building management, will be subject to fines the bureau has said.

Guests staying in Hotels and Serviced Apartments

Guests must be registered upon arrival with the PSB by the hotel and if separate, the serviced apartment management company. Usually this procedure is automatic with input from the hotel being directly fed into the local PSB computer at the check-in procedure, with no additional action being required from the guest. However, daily checks are now in operation and the PSB physically visits hotels to request copies of the hotels' in-house guest lists to make sure they match the PSB's own records. If they do not, the hotel / serviced apartment will be fined RMB5,000 per missing entry. Hotel guests under these circumstances would not be fined. However it does mean that foreigners wishing to stay at an hotel in China must provide full passport and visa credentials in order to check in.

Expatriate Employees Living In Private Apartments

The apartment management company should be contacting foreign tenants / residents and requiring them to register with the local PSB. If this is not done, both the management company and the foreigner can be fined RMB5,000. It is important to note that this rule applies to any foreign person living in any apartment or private dwelling - even if it is for just for one night. If staying overnight or visiting friends in China, registration must be carried out upon arrival with the local PSB office responsible for the area within 24 hours of arrival.

We strongly recommend that all expatriate personnel living in apartments in China register with the local PSB before July 1st to avoid problems.

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I don't believe that these regulations will be carried out the way they were put down. Checking every hotel every day? Not very likely. At least at my PSB, the policemen and women are way too busy doing... err... talking to neighbors.

And staying over at a friends still shouldn't be a problem, as you have 24 hours after arrival to register.

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But in that case you can still crash at a mate's couch, and if the knock on the door does come you can tell them that you only arrived at 4 in the morning, and that you were honestly planning to register first thing today. Right?

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I've had experience of both aspects of this recently.

Normally when I travel with my girlfriend we use her ID card to book into hotels which are not licenced for foreigners. While some hotels will refuse to do this, mostly it is not much of a problem. However we were in Baoding last week and every hotel refused to do this. Apparently one hotel was fined a huge amout a few days before arrived for this. In the smaller hotels owner were very definate about this, in the larger ones staff were very confused and we were only told "no" after many phone calls to the boss, suggesting the policy has changed quickly. When we did find a hotel (paying 180 yuan rather than the 80 yuan we usually aim for) the reception desk girls were extraordinarily thorough with the check in procedure, and even phoned my room at midnight to ask to check my passport again. While we were in the receptions of two of the different hotels, policemen arrived to check the registration forms.

(Note: I've never been to Baoding before so I don't know what the circumstances are usually like, but it definately felt much tighter than usual)

Secondly I have been staying with my girlfriends family over the past week in a small county in Tangshan. On Monday we went to the Tangshan Visa/Registration doodah in order to try and get my girlfriend a passport. While we were waiting there I was asked for my passport and was called in for questioning, and on admitting that I hadn't registered the city police contacted the county police to make damn sure I did. (This despite the fact that I was only acompanying my girlfriend there, I had no business myself) My girlfriend had police visiting the school where she teaches as well as her home (with resulting loss of face). At first we were told that I would have to stay in a hotel (200 yuan a night again...), and there would be no way for me to stay in my girlfriends house ever again, until we got married. After some extensive prompting we found out that my girlfriend could write an application to the chief of police for me to stay. Surpisingly this whole process only took about 10 minutes. I should mention that all the officers in the county town were very friendly, but were clearly being leaned on from above to follow the regulations. The fine was waved on the basis that (cough) we were ignorant of the registration process. Have been told that the village police will come and visit me from time to time for my safety.

In short, not a good time to be travelling.

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Bear in mind we're still getting off lightly - Mongolian ethnicity friend of mine, from Xinjiang, has just been taken down to the police station, fingerprinted, and told that although Mongolians are less dangerous than Tibetans or Muslims, they'd worry less if they weren't in Beijing for the Olympics. I'm getting this second hand so I don't know how seriously this was suggested. But there's no such thing as a friendly fingerprinting.

I'm starting to think my joke a few months ago about North Korea-Lite was almost prophetic.

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Wow. This sounds like it is right out of the '70s. (Know people that did that) I think there was a thread about what a lady had to do back then. Getting close to that. Taiwan accent is sounding better and better for many people.

This can't help long-run tourism.

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I don't get it; I was under the impression the "clamping down" as it were, was limited to Beijing in response to increase threats of terrorism. According to yingguoguy's accounts, the restrictions are now stretching out to neighboring Hebei. Is this now a countrywide thing? To echo the above poster's comments, this cannot be good for long-term tourism. Chinese tourists may feel safer having increased police visits, but westerners certainly don't.

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My colleague just came back from Hebei province (a tiny place near Chengde) and said that in the hotel they stayed in, which was quite good considering the location, the PSB was checking passports in all rooms. Word on the street had it that they were looking for 33 Uighur separatists, of which they had only gotten 22 so far.

I wouldn't give too much about the rumour, but it does show that security in places outside Beijing is tightening as well.

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Ummm yes it's a country wide thing!! The police are being more, um friendly to me even and I've lived here for a couple years. They are really nice about it, aren't suspicious of me being a spy or anything but they are tightening up. Had a group of Brazilians come and do some relief work at one point and the when the registered the police came to the house they were staying and photographed each and everyone of them. Still very nice and friendly but they are stepping it up.

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  • 4 weeks later...


Some interesting BJ info:

It is important to note that this rule applies to any foreign person living in any apartment or private dwelling - even if it is for just for one night. And we understand the Ba Li Zhuang, Pan Jia Yuan and San Yuan Li PSB are the 3 local PSB in Beijing that are extremely strict in implementation of this rule. We would like to advise that should your resident falls under the coverage of this 3 PSB, you must ensure you are 100% in compliance.
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