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China to Start Fingerprinting Foreign Visitors

China to Start Fingerprinting Foreign Visitors

Millions of foreigners visiting China each year will now have their fingerprints collected. The country’s Ministry of Public Security said last Thursday that it will begin taking visitors’ fingerprints as they enter and exit the country. The requirement will apply to most people between the ages of 14 and 70.

The policy will go into effect starting in Shenzhen, the southern Chinese city bordering Hong Kong.

Chinese authorities counted more than 76 million entries and exits by foreigners last year. The visitors were primarily from South Korea, Japan, the USA and Russia.

The ministry said that the new requirement is “an important measure to strengthen entry and exit management” that matches policies in other countries. Other Asian countries that already scan visitor’s fingerprints include Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore, while US Customs and Border Protection has fingerprinted most foreign visitors, except those from 27 countries, since 2004.

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NEIL STEEDMAN has been a trade journalist, editor and proofreader for 53 years, and ITTN's News & Features Editor for 43 years. His travel blog is at www.thetravelbuddhist.com.

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