As an added security measure in airports, foreign visitors in China will have their fingerprints collected and facial images captured (passport holders with ages 14 to 70 years old) starting this week. The new policy will take effect first in Shenzhen airport before rolling out nationwide.
However, to those tourists holding a diplomatic passport or living in countries that have reciprocal agreements with China will be exempted in having their biometrics taken. In a statement, the Ministry of Public Security described the initiative as an "important measure to strengthen entry and exit management."
Last year, about 76 million tourists took foot in China especially in countries like South Korea, Japan, US, and Russia. China's move to fingerprinting is not new. The US, Japan, Taiwan, and Cambodia have made similar requirements a couple of years ago.
Fingerprints and facial recognition -- the new passport?
Many countries are beginning to consider fingerprinting and facial recognizing apps to combat terrorism and improve airport safety. The US is particular to having the program and is seen to be widely used by 2020.
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection of Australia announced that they would plan to eradicate the use of passports and have facial recognition systems and fingerprint readers in its stead. However, many people clamored for this initiative to be rejected as biometrics would mean violation to right of privacy.
Terrorism in China
Recently, China adopted Pakistan's terrorism problem and will heartily cooperate with the country to eliminate the issue. The move to have the airports tightened security is a sure way of their effort for combating terrorism.
While China has its fair share of Islamic Attacks in the past few years, the location of bombs and killings are often centered in Xinjiang, China's Autonomous Region. Xinjiang is home to ethnic minority groups in the country, which includes the Turkic Uyghur people as it serves a major crossroad for Middle Easterners.