Resident Identity Card
|Resident Identity Card
A Sample of front (above) and reverse (below) of a Resident Identity Card (Second-generation identification card)
|Type of document||Identity card|
|Eligibility requirements||Hukou registration required|
|Cost||Registration fee: RMB20,
Replacement for lost or damaged cards: RMB40
|Resident Identity Card|
The Resident Identity Card (Chinese: 居民身份证; pinyin: Jūmín Shēnfènzhèng) is an official identity document for personal identification in the People's Republic of China. According to the second chapter, tenth clause of the Resident Identity Card Law, residents are required to apply for resident identity cards from the local Public Security Bureau, sub-bureaus or local executive police stations.
Prior to 1984, citizens within the People's Republic of China were not required to obtain or carry identification in public. On April 6, 1984, the State Council of the People's Republic of China passed the Identity Card Provisional Bill (中华人民共和国居民身份证试行条例), commencing the process of gradual introduction of personal identification, in the footsteps of many developed countries at the time. The first generation identification cards were single paged cards made of polyester film. Between 1984 and 1991, trials for the new identity card system took place in Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin. Shan Xiurong (单秀荣), a Chinese Opera performer and soprano from Beijing, was the first person to receive a first-generation identity card in China.
On September 6, 1985, the Standing Committee of the 12th National People's Congress passed the Identity Card Bill of the People's Republic of China, which regulated that all citizens over the age of 16 apply for identification cards. At that point, the Ministry of Public Security of the People's Republic of China created a unified authority responsible for the issuing and management of the ID cards. From 2003, it is reported that a total of 1.14 billion ID cards have been created in China, for a total of 960,000,000 holders. However, as a result of technological development and certain techniques made available to the civilian population, the existing cards became relatively easier to counterfeit, opening the increasing threat of false identification.
On June 1, 2003, the National People's Congress passed the new Resident Identity Card Law, which expanded the scope of documents issued, and allowed soldiers in the People's Liberation Army and members of the People's Armed Police to apply for special identity cards. Individuals under the age of 16 were also permitted to voluntarily apply for an identification card. The law also established the use of newer, second-generation cards, which are machine-readable and more difficult to forge.
The identity card contains basic information regarding the individual, such as the following:
- Obverse side
- Full name – in Chinese characters only. Non-Chinese ethnic names and foreign names are transliterated into Chinese. First-generation ID cards contained handwritten names for rare Chinese characters, whilst the second-generation cards exclusively used computer-printed text in a larger font compared to that of the first generation, and do not support rarer characters.
- Gender – containing one character for either male (男) or female (女).
- Ethnicity – as officially listed by the People's Republic of China.
- Date of birth – listed in the Gregorian calendar format, in YYYY年MM月DD日 Big-endian (ISO 8601) order.
- Domicile – the individual's permanent residence as dictated by the Identity Card Bill of the People's Republic of China.
- Identification number
- Photo of the individual
- Reverse side
- Issuing authority (first-generation cards utilised a stamp; second-generation cards display text only)
- The limits to validity of the document (for individuals under 16 years of age: five years; for individuals between 16 and 25 years of age: ten years; for individuals between 26 and 45 years of age: twenty years; for individuals over 46 years of age: long-term)
Information stored in the identity database for second-generation ID cards includes work history, educational background, religion, ethnicity, police record, medical insurance status, landlord's phone number and personal reproductive history. In addition, more detailed personal information can be obtained by viewing hukou information from the card database. Starting on January 1, 2013, Beijing has started trials to include fingerprints in the ID cards, making it more difficult to forge ID cards or for people to use the ID cards of others.
In 1984, discussion over the contents of the identity card became controversial regarding whether to include details such as "marital status" and "occupation"; considering the actual situation of the People's Republic of China at the time, these details ultimately were not included in the ID card.
The first-generation ID cards contained a black-and-white photograph portrait of the individual; following the introduction of the second-generation cards, all identification portraits are printed in colour. From 1 January 2013 a mandatory switch to the second-generation cards came into force; all first-generation cards became void and unusable. If used, first-generation cards are treated as expired ID cards, and will not be accepted. It is a criminal offense to accept first-generation ID cards if the person who accepts it know that it is a first-generation card.
The dimensions of the second-generation cards are 85.725 mm×53.975 mm×0.900 mm, and the identity photo is sized at 358x441 pixels (width by height), printed at a resolution of 350dpi on RGB using 24-bit True Color, prepared using JPEG compression techniques in line with the requirements of ISO DIS 10918-1. The final image appears as a 26 mm × 32 mm portrait box in the top-right hand corner.
Identity cards in ethnic minority areas
Within the ethnic minority regions in China, identity cards possess corresponding text in the respective minority language for both first-generation and second-generation cards. For example, cards officially signed and issued in Guangxi all contain accompanying text in Zhuang, as well as Chinese characters. According to the fourth clause of the Resident Identity Card Law, "based on the de facto situation within the organs of self-government within autonomous ethnic regions, the content of the resident identity card can, alongside Chinese characters, be decided to include the text of the ethnic group exercising regional autonomy or choice of a local generic text". This law permits resident identity cards within designated ethnic minority regions to have bilingual text, and depending on region, cards may contain accompanying text in Zhuang, Uyghur, Yi, Tibetan, Mongolian or Korean.
Ethnic minority residents represented by the local autonomous region can apply to have an additional ethnic minority language displayed on their identity cards, whilst Han Chinese and other ethnic residents' cards only have Chinese characters displayed. Ethnic minorities within their representative autonomous regions can have their personal name displayed in both their native language and Chinese characters; for example, within Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, a card belonging to an Uyghur may display the cardholder's name as "纳斯尔丁·阿凡提 نەسىرىدىن ئەپەندى" (Effendi Nasreddin), however ethnic Kazakhs and Xibe people living in Xinjiang may only have their names written in Chinese. The following table shows the languages used on identity cards within minority regions:
(ROM: Yi pinyin)
|Date of birth||出生
(nián yuè rì)
|NIENZ NYIED HAUH||ལོའི་ཟླ་ ཚེ་ས་ ཉིན།
(lo'i zla, tshe sa, nyin)
(on, sar-a, edür)
|يىل ئاي كۈن
(yil, ay, kün)
|ꈎ ꆪ ꑍ
(kut, hlep, nyit)
|년 월 일
(nyŏn, wŏl, il)
|Resident Identity number||公民身份号码
(gōngmín shēnfèn hàomǎ)
|GUNGHMINZ SINHFWN HAUMAJ||སྤྱི་དམངས་ཐོབ་ཐང་ཨང་རྟགས།
(spyi dmangs thob thang ang rtags)
(irgen-ü bey-e ǰin ünemlel-ün nomɛr)
(go mip gop bo zyp sat sat ma)
(kongmin sinbunjŭng pŏnho)
(mchan sprod las khungs)
(ɣar-un üsüg ǰiruču olɣon ögxügsen beigölɣ-a)
(gop bo zyp sat fat dde)
(nus thon ngus tsod)
(xüčün büxüi xüɣüčaɣ-a)
|كۈچكە ئىگە مۇددىتى
(küchke ige mudditi)
(ssi hxit te kop)
Identity card number
From October 1, 1999, the PRC State Council approved the establishment of a citizen identification number system, and currently consists of an 18-digit code. This number, to some extent, has a function similar to that of the social security number in the United States, and each citizen has a unique number that remains unchanged for their entire lifetime. An exception previously existed, however, in rare instances where the same ID number was accidentally issued to two people prior to the system being digitalised.
|Address code||Date of Birth code||Order code||Checksum|
- Address code refers to the resident's location, where administrative divisions (including cities, banners, and districts) have their own specific codes. (For example, the code for Xicheng District in Beijing is 110102.) Change of address does not modify this code however, which means that the code therefore reflects one's birthplace or the location of one's first-time card issuance (in the case where people are born before the resident identity card system was introduced).
- Date of Birth in the form YYYY-MM-DD.
- Order code is the code used to disambiguate people with the same date of birth and address code. Men are assigned to odd numbers, women assigned to even numbers.
- The Checksum is the final digit, which confirms the validity of the ID number from the first 17 digits, utilizing ISO 7064:1983, MOD 11-2. The checksum is obtained by:
- Marking the Identity card number right-to-left ， for the parity-check codes;
- Weight coefficient calculation ;
i 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Wi 7 9 10 5 8 4 2 1 6 3 7 9 10 5 8 4 2 1
- Calculation of
Usage of identification
The identity card is one of the acceptable legal documents used to obtain resident permits or driving licenses, open bank accounts, register for mobile phone numbers, apply for tertiary education and technical college, buy train tickets, and passing through security checkpoints within domestic terminals at airports in mainland China. Documentation is also required for marriages, household registrations and legal cases.
Police are required to inspect identification documents where:
- Criminal suspects need to be identified;
- To inspect those related to personnel involved in an incident;
- In the occurrence of a serious security emergency, and there is a requirement to obtain the identity of a person at the scene;
- If the law requires so during a case.
First generation ID card
Polyester plastic film, which utilizes an anti-counterfeit laser logo.
Second generation ID card
Second-generation ID cards contain a non-contact IC chip card, a directional holographic "Great Wall" image, an anti-counterfeiting film made of green multi-layer polyester (PETG) composite material, optical variable optical storage containing the text "中国CHINA" situated on the card, and a microfilm string generating the letters "JMSFZ" (initials for the Pinyin of "Jumin Shenfenzheng"), and a "Great Wall" logo revealed by ultraviolet light.
Security and criticism
Unlike the biometric ID cards in EU countries which comply with ICAO standards, the second-generation ID card imposes older technologies similar to MIFARE used on public transportation systems, which, unlike its ICAO-compliant counterparts, lacks the proper encryption of personal data such as BAC control, thus making the information stored on the chip openly accessible to any ID card readers at a near enough distance. Strangely, the document's validity period is not recorded on the IC chip, therefore one can only tell the validity of the document by physically examine the dates printed on the back of the card. Also, because ID cards lacks a different numbering scheme from the citizen's identity number for Chinese nationals, there's currently no way to deregister a lost ID card completely even when the loss of the ID card is reported to the police. The above characteristics have made ID cards vulnerable to identification theft, which is overwhelmingly common in China, with stolen ID cards retailing for over 200 yuan each on the black market. Despite the criticism from public, Ministry of Public Security has yet to announce any changes apart from the addition of fingerprint data on the already-insecure chip.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Identity documents of China.|
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- 中华人民共和国居民身份证法 – www.gov.cn
- 1984年4月6日 居民身份证制度施行
- "改革开放30年专题第48期：居民身份证". 《新京报》. Retrieved 2008-10-12.
- 关于《中华人民共和国公民身份证法(草案)》的说明 – news.sina.com
- 中华人民共和国居民身份证法 – www.gov.cn
- 中华人民共和国居民身份证法·第一章·第四条·第二款项: "民族自治地方的自治机关根据本地区的实际情况，对居民身份证用汉字登记的内容，可以决定同时使用实行区域自治的民族的文字或者选用一种当地通用的文字。". See original text at Wikisource.
|Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
- (in Chinese) PRC Identity Card law
- (in Chinese) Identity law issues – XINHUA
- (in Chinese) History of identification
- (in Chinese) Concerns regarding second-generation cards
- (in Chinese) Mobile phones, identity cards and individual positioning