When I moved to my current place, I registered my residence at the local police station (giving them a copy of my contract; I think this is called 登记). At the time, I ended up befriending a local police officer. Today I (inadvertently) ran into him at lunch, and he asked me if I had already "bàobēi", saying if I haven't already I should do so. At least, that's what I think I heard.

Looking up similar words in the dictionary, he may have said:

CC-CEDICT: 报备 (bào​bèi​) to report a proposed activity to an authority (to obtain approval or register one's intentions)

However, I'm not sure why he would ask me this, and whether or not this refers to registering my residence at the police station. I can't think of anything else I would need to do, but the rules here change from time to time and sometimes I'm not up to date.

Question: A policeman asked me if I had already "bàobēi" (or something like this); what did he ask me?

  • 登记 is to register your whereabouts; 报备 is to notify the authority "something is about to occur", which usually requires permission. Do you have a change of situation/status during the stay?
    – r13
    Aug 22, 2022 at 16:44
  • @r13: To my knowledge, nothing has changed. I've lived in the same place for the last 3 months, and most of the time I stay home and study Chinese. My best guess now is that he was just making chit-chat and used a less-common term.
    – Becky 李蓓
    Aug 22, 2022 at 22:28
  • What is the length of your visa? Is it near expiration?
    – r13
    Aug 23, 2022 at 1:13

2 Answers 2


The immigration rules have a specified requirement for “foreigner”’s accommodation


一、《中华人民共和国出境入境管理法》第三十九条规定:“外国人在中国境内旅馆住宿的,旅馆应当按照旅馆业治安管理的有关规定为其办理住宿登记,并向所在地公安机关报送外国人住宿登记信息。 外国人在旅馆以外的其他住所居住或者住宿的,应当在入住后二十四小时内由本人或者留宿人,向居住地的公安机关办理登记




Briefly, every night every “foreigner” needs to inform the local police station (公安局) that they’re staying in a premise of that authority’s administration.

  • Clause 1: hotels / hostels would do this, in lieu of the foreigner

  • Clause 2: schools, institutions that permitted for foreigner’s accommodation would do this, in lieu the foreigner; otherwise, the foreigner must do it him/her-self, if he/she does not stay in any hotels / hostels

  • Clause 3: the penalty is a warning and a fine less than $2000

  • Clause 4: a penalty for hotels

A policeman asked me if I had already "bàobēi"

He reminded you in a friendly way that such rule exists, and is in force. When I visited relatives in Canton, the police enforced it seriously in the 70s; it was a little bit lax in the 80s.

Another approach is: the political climate is intense, so the public security bureau need to tighten its monitoring and controlling of foreigners in your living area.

  • they need to inform the local police station will a SMS do suffice? how are Mount Everest climbers supposed to do this every night?
    – hanshenrik
    Aug 22, 2022 at 13:15
  • @hanshenrik , my guess is, the trekking agent would handle it, in lieu of their clients 😸 Aug 22, 2022 at 13:27
  • @hanshenrik Don't most Everest climbers go up the Nepalese side of the mountain? China wouldn't have any jurisdiction there. Aug 22, 2022 at 19:57
  • @DarrelHoffman, in 2017, there’re 648 everest submitters, 202 of them climbed from tibet. after covid, no foreigners is allowed to visit the base camp in tibet. relax, treat it as brainstorming 😸 theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/21/… Aug 23, 2022 at 1:02


Probably related to the virus situation. You need to tell the local community you are there, especially if you come from a high risk area, and go for virus testing when there is one, or your health code may be shifted to yellow.

My residential registration is called: 境外人员临时住宿等级。

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