While China is beginning to open up with more relaxed residence and entry policies, it's still not about to let its guard down, announcing that soon all foreigners who enter the country will be fingerprinted.
The fingerprinting of foreigners will be introduced at Shenzhen airport in the south from today, and it will then be gradually rolled out at other entry points around the country, the ministry said in a statement.
Fingerprints will be scanned for all travelers between the ages of 14 and 70 flying on a non-China passport.
China's border control authority would try to improve efficiency after the new regulation was implemented, it added.
Chinese authorities counted more than 76 million entries and exits previous year from foreigners, primarily from South Korea, Japan, the United States and Russian Federation. China maintains very close records and monitors all foreigners entering and leaving the country.
A draft law on entry and exit procedures, which allowed the ministry of public security and the foreign ministry to gather biological identification data such as fingerprints from foreign visitors, was first discussed in 2011.
The Beijing Youth Daily reported in 2015 that the ministry of public security had invited manufacturers of fingerprint readers to bid for equipment.