Yes, they can. As a matter of fact, on February 20, 2002, the Ministry of Justice adopted and issued the Measures for the Handling of Mortgage Registration by Notary Institutions (the measures).
In accordance with these measures, if parties use "Other Assets" (as defined in the measures) as security for a mortgage, the notary institution where the mortgagor is located, shall be the registration authority. The measures also apply to the registration by notary institutions of residential, commercial and village enterprise mortgages if the local to provincial People's Government has stipulated that notary institution as being able to carry out mortgage registrations.
Under various laws and regulations, mortgage contracts can only be enforced after registration with a notary institution.