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Entry-exit Firms Authorized

The Beijing Public Security Bureau authorized 108 entry and exit intermediary service companies, selected from many applicants, to operate in the capital Wednesday.

Last year, the authorities decided to examine the qualifications of all the city's firms which provide services for those planning to go abroad for personal reasons.

The inspection and approval activities of the bureau were based on a regulation stipulated by the Ministry of Public Security last June.

The qualified companies can provide services for Chinese who plan to settle down, visit family members and relatives or engage in other private activities in foreign countries.

The services include information introduction, legal consultation, tourism arrangements and visa assistance.

"We should protect the legal rights of travellers as the country opens its door wider to the outside world," said Zhang Jiawang, deputy-director of the bureau.

Zhang admitted that the service sector in the capital was relatively chaotic before the overhaul.

And the tourism industry has experienced the fastest growth momentum in the country, especially out-bound travel, as the living standards of Chinese people has improved remarkably in recent years, he added.

The number of people entering and exiting China hit a landmark 201 million last year - the first time the 200 million figure was topped - and was up 7.8 percent from 2000.

Increasing numbers of Chinese are taking the opportunity to travel overseas and more foreigners are crossing China's borders for business and tourism, according to the ministry.

Moreover, more foreigners are coming to China for business and travel.

According to the ministry's statistics, more than 11.22 million foreigners from 239 countries and regions entered China last year; the majority of visitors were from Japan, the Republic of Korea, Russia, the United States, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Mongolia, Thailand and Britain.

(China Daily April 11, 2002)

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