China is collecting the fingerprints of foreigners entering the country

One more step before entry.
One more step before entry.
Image: EPA/Jerome Favre
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A new policy takes effect in China today (Feb. 10) that requires foreigners to hand over their fingerprints.

The government is starting to collect the fingerprints of travelers at Shenzhen International Airport, which sits at the border between Hong Kong and China, before rolling it across all entry and exit points in the mainland by the end of 2017, according to the Ministry of Public Security. With the exception of diplomats, all foreigners between the ages of 14 and 70 will be required to go through this step.

“To collect the biometric information is an important measure to enhance border control that has been adopted by several countries,” said the ministry (link in Chinese). The practice is in line with border protocols in the US and Japan.

There were more than 13 million overseas visitors to China in 2016, according to a report by China’s National Tourism Administration in January last year.