Restrictions on Foreigners Stay at Chinese Hotels

A friend told me that foreigner traveling in China can only stay at certain hotels. Other hotels are not open to aliens because the government wants to have better control. Is this the case? If this is true, I do not seem to see any kind of hotel list kept somewhere?

That used to be the case, quite few years back now, when foreigners traveling in China had to stay at designated hotels. Some hotels were allowed to serve foreign guests whereas others were not. Party it was because back then the quality of hotels in China was uneven, with some of the hotels deemed below standard acceptable abroad. Partly it was because the government just wanted to make it easier for it to keep track of foreigners in China. Since then, much change has taken place in China's hotel industry that it no longer makes sense to confine foreigners to some of hotels while depriving some hotels of the business. Also, there are so many foreigners moving around in China, there is nothing novel about it, so the government has become less touchy on this issue.

Still, when you stay in a hotel, you must register properly and show your passports.

It is not all a bad thing that the authorities know who you're and where you're. If anything unexpected happens, such as theft, etc., you'll need their help.

Thanks for the reply. What about staying with a Chinese friend? Any particular rules on that currently?

You can stay with local Chinese but you need to register with the authorities. China's border control law says that when a foreign citizen stays with a Chinese friend or relative, registration of the stay must be made within 24 hours after the arrival of the guest. To do so, the visitor, or his/her host, should go to the local bureau of public security, bringing along the visitor's passport and the host's identification documents.