|BEIJING - China will require its citizens to register their fingerprints when applying for ID cards from January 2013 in a bid to curb counterfeit ID cards and ensure faster identification, according to the Ministry of Public Security.
The first version of ID cards, launched in 1985, will be prohibited from use from January 1, 2013. Meanwhile, these cardholders will receive second-version ID cards by the deadline, said Vice-Minister Huang Ming Wednesday at a meeting on the management of citizens' ID cards.
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 Huang, citizens applying for ID cards for the first time as well as those applying for replacement cards will be required to have their fingerprints taken. And those still holding valid second-version ID cards can register their fingerprints on a voluntary basis.
Urging various public security departments to include fingerprint-collecting expenses into their budgets, the ministry promised to keep the ID application fees unchanged and punish those charging in the name of recording fingerprints.
The move came after the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature, adopted an amendment to the Resident Identity Card Law last year to require citizens' fingerprints recorded when they apply for or change ID cards.
Lawmakers hold that including fingerprints data in the ID cards will help identify people in a faster and more precise manner and will effectively curb the counterfeiting and altering of the cards.
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