China moves toward registering citizens’ fingerprints

Chinese police have moved a step closer to launching a system to register citizens’ fingerprints in 2013, it was reported on Saturday.

The Ministry of Public Security on Thursday started to invite fingerprint reader manufacturers to bid for a list of recommended equipment to be used in the upcoming collection, said a report in the Beijing Youth Daily.

According to a notice from the ministry, these manufacturers should be registered in China and have to be Chinese-owned or -controlled enterprises.

The ministry did not specify a closing date for the invitation, but promised to announce the date later in 2013.

On Oct. 29, 2011, China adopted an amendment to its Resident Identity Card Law to require citizens’ fingerprints to be recorded, a move expected to be helpful in identifying people in a faster and more precise manner and effectively curb the counterfeiting and altering of ID cards.

The new policy will be enforced from Jan. 1, 2013, when the country’s first version of ID cards, launched in 1985, will also expire, according to a statement issued in May by the Ministry.

In 2004, the country introduced the second-version card. By 2010, 1.04 billion people, or 77.6 percent of China’s population, had received the second version.

According to the statement, citizens applying for ID cards for the first time as well as those applying for replacement cards will be required to have their fingerprints recorded.

Those still holding valid second-version ID cards can register their fingerprints on a voluntary basis, said the statement.

It also specified that fingerprint-collecting expenses would be included into public finance budgets, while ID application fees would remain unchanged.


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