, BEIJING, May 16 – China on Tuesday began issuing a new type of passport featuring an electronic chip that contains the holder’s personal information.
Meng Hongwei, vice minister of public security, said at a launching ceremony for the passport that it was designed according to international standards, featuring anti-counterfeiting technology and “intelligent chips” that will bring greater convenience to passport holders.
The passports are expected to simplify border control procedures by allowing for easier identification.
The new passports have the same appearance as traditional ones, but also feature an inserted electronic chip that records the holder’s name, date of birth, photo and fingerprints, according to a previous statement issued by the Ministry of Public Security on May 3.
Holders of traditional passports will be able to continue using them as long as they remain valid, the statement said.
The number of passports issued annually by China has increased sharply from one million in the mid-1990s to 10 million now, with an annual average growth of 20 percent. About 38 million Chinese hold passports.
Last year saw 20.3 million exits by Chinese residents, a significant increase from 4.73 million in 2000.