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Lodging Options Open Up for Expats
The national capital is throwing out the welcome mat to foreign visitors after the abolishment of accommodation restrictions in downtown districts.

Expatriates are now able to enjoy more options after the municipal government lifted the long-standing restrictions, which said that overseas visitors had to lodge at government designated hotels.

Announced by the Beijing Public Security Bureau yesterday, the relaxed policy allows expatriates to stay wherever they want in eight urban districts, such as Dongcheng, Chongwen and Chaoyang.

The move is expected to lead to a city-wide policy at the start of October, when a network system linking all of Beijing's computerized hotel registers is up-and-running, according to bureau spokesman Su Qiang.

He said all hotels in the capital will be entitled to accept expatriates without restrictions and the "foreign approved hotel" notices will fade into history.

Zhang Yue, the bureau's vice-director, said the major reform of the city's public security system was designed to better meet the needs of an emerging China, particularly as more foreigners were coming to Beijing in the wake of the nation's accession to the World Trade Organization.

The 500 or so hotels previously allowed to accommodate foreigners could barely meet the huge demand, a factor that was causing considerable inconvenience.

Many other cities and provinces around China have already lifted accommodation restrictions, including Shanghai and Guangdong, Yunnan, Hubei and Jiangxi provinces.

(China Daily May 29, 2003)

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