Chinese citizens will get new ID called a "citizen's ID card" to replace their current "resident's ID card", possible as early as next year.
A draft law on the citizen's ID card, submitted on Friday to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, says that every Chinese citizen will have a single 18-digit citizen's ID number.
On September 6, 1985, the Sixth NPC Standing Committee passed at its 30th meeting the Regulations on Identity Cards which set up an ID card system.
The new ID card, however, will use magnetic strip technology, which will give the police information about the card holder if the card is scanned.
Luo Feng, vice-minister of public security, explained that the draft law would broaden the scope for issuing ID cards and every Chinese citizen aged over 16 could apply for one.
Overseas Chinese, those from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan and foreigners with Chinese citizenship, all of whom reside on the Chinese mainland, can apply for the new ID card.
According to current practice, however, ID cards are not issued to service men and armed police, or to people sentenced to criminal detention, jail or re-education through labor, or to those in custody who do not have ID.
The draft law also sets out strict rules for checking and suspending ID cards.
No official unit or individual is entitled to suspend a citizen's ID except that the police can suspend the ID card of someone detained under the Criminal Procedure Law.
According to the draft law, the current ID cards will remain valid until they expire.
China has issued a total of 1.14 billion ID cards since the system was established in September 1985.
(eastday.com October 25, 2002)