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Policies on Residency, Driving, Passport Loosened

Chinese citizens will enjoy more convenience and freedom in residence registry, driving and passport application, thanks to a series of measures introduced Thursday by China's Ministry of Public Security.

China has, for a long time, practiced strict administration on residence registry. The new measures, effective from Thursday, are expected to encourage university graduates to live and work in underdeveloped western China, giving them the choice of registering their residence either in the region where they work or in their original domicile.

The new measures abolish the requirement for investors, entrepreneurs and skilled workers in western regions to re-register their residence. Those who have already re-registered may return their registration to their original home if they return to work or live.

Many senior or disabled people will be able to realize their dreams of driving with the new measures. According to the ministry's circular, the maximum age limit for people applying for driving licenses will be extended to 70 years from the current 60 years on Sept. 1.

Driving license holders who are above the age of 70 may continue driving if they pass an annual driving examination and physical check-up, the circular said.

The new measures also permit "persons with a disabled lower left limb" to take the examination and obtain driving licenses for small cars with automatic transmission.

In addition, Chinese residents will find it easier to apply for a passport. So far only residents in 25 big Chinese cities can apply for passports on proof of need, with ID cards and residence booklets. People in other cities still have to complete complicated paperwork when filing an application.

According to the new measures, the ministry will simplify passport application procedure in as many as 100 large and medium-sized cities by the end of this year.

Bai Jingfu, vice-minister of public security, said the new measures are made based on suggestions from various social sectors and the ministry will continue to take suggestions to further improve services.

(Xinhua News Agency August 7, 2003)

Control Eased for Driving Licenses
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Passport Application Procedure Simplified
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