China is to begin taking fingerprints of all foreign visitors as it steps up security on its borders, the Ministry of Public Security said on Thursday. The fingerprinting of foreigners will be introduced at Shenzhen airport in the south from Friday, and it will then be gradually rolled out at other entry points around the country, the ministry said in a statement.
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All foreign passport holders aged 14-70 will have to give their fingerprints, it said, without saying if other biometric data would also be collected. The ministry said the regulation would strengthen immigration controls and increase efficiency.
The United States, Japan, Taiwan and Cambodia, among others, have similar requirements. While Chinese border posts do not generally have overly onerous entry formalities, most visitors need a visa, though many cities have visa-free deals for visits of a few days as part of efforts to boost tourism.