May 31, 2012 -
In January 2013, the Chinese government will require its citizens to register their fingerprints when applying for ID cards. This pronouncement was made by the Ministry of Public Security at a time when the country is attempting to control counterfeit IDs and the altering of IDs. With fingerprint data in ID cards, it will be easier and faster to identify cardholders.
This is not the first time that China has issued IDs. The program was launched in 1985 but in 2004, a second-version card was issued. By 2010, about 77.6 percent of China’s population was able to secure the second version. This prompted Vice-Minister Huang Ming to announce that IDs issued in 1985 will expire by January 2013. Second-version cardholders will have that choice of registering their fingerprints or not. But those applying for new card or replacing their card will be required to have their fingerprints taken.
The ministry urged public security departments to provide budgets to cover fingerprint-collecting expenses. ID application fees will remain unchanged.
The law was passed after the National People’s Congress, the highest legislature in China, adopted an amendment requiring citizen’s fingerprints to be recorded when applying for new or change ID cards.