Chinese mainland citizens under the age of 16 will soon be able to apply for their own identity cards, possibly within this year.
A draft law on citizens' identity cards, submitted on Friday to the Standing Committee of the 10th National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, says that Chinese citizens below the age of 16 and residing on the Chinese mainland will be eligible for identity cards, which will have a five-year period of validity.
"Applying for identity cards is not only an obligation, but a right of citizens," said Yang Jingyu, Chairman of the NPC Law Committee. "There should be no discrimination based on age."
In addition, citizens under 16 need identity cards for their daily activities, such as taking flight or opening a bank account, he said. "It is really not convenient if they don't have identity cards."
The current regulations on citizens' identity cards, in force since 1985, stipulates that only residents over 16 should apply for identity cards.
(Xinhua News Agency April 26, 2003)