China: Whether and when the government ceased to issue first generation resident identity cards (RICs), specifically in Tianjin and the provinces of Fujian, Guangdong, and Liaoning [CHN104046.E]

Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa

1. Nationally

Sources report that, as decreed by the Ministry of Public Security, the entire country was to completely stop issuing first-generation resident identity cards (RICs) at the end of June 2006 (Fujian 4 July 2006; Beijing Youth Daily 8 Mar. 2006). However, according to a December 2006 article from the Liao Shen Evening News, posted on the website of the Liaoning Northeast Network, which is the owner of Liaoning Gateway, the "promotional and educational" website of the Liaoning government (Liaoning Gateway 2 Sept. 2008), the Public Security Bureau in Shenyang, Liaoning's capital city, was to stop issuing first-generation cards on 31 December 2006 (Liao Shen Evening News 29 December 2012).

According to sources, first-generation RICs stopped being issued at different times in different parts of China, as second generation identity cards were introduced (Canada 6 Nov. 2012; Beijing Youth Daily 8 Mar. 2006; Nanfang Daily 12 May 2004). According to a March 2006 article by the Beijing Youth Daily posted on the Xinhua News Agency's website, thirteen provinces and cities, as well as the province of Qinghai, had completed the changeover in 2005 (8 Mar. 2006). Information on when the issuance of first-generation identity cards ceased in most regions could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

2. Tianjin

According to the Beijing Youth Daily article, in April 2004, the city of Tianjin, as along with Beijing and Shanghai, was one of the first places to cease issuing the first-generation cards as part of a pilot project to introduce the second generation cards (8 Mar. 2006). The article reports that these cities, which are all centrally administered, began to routinely process the new cards in 2005 (Beijing Youth Daily 8 Mar. 2006).

3. Guangdong

A May 2004 article in the Guangzhou-based Nanfang Daily stated that, according to the Deputy Director of the Guangdong provincial department of public security, it was intended that first generation cards would cease to be issued in the province by January 2005, as part of a changeover plan to implement the use of second generation cards (12 May 2004). Neither corroboration nor information on the implementation of the plan were found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

4. Liaoning

According to the Beijing Youth Daily article, Liaoning was among the thirteen provinces and cities that had completed the transition to second-generation cards in 2005 (8 Mar. 2006). However, according to the Liao Shen Evening News article, the Public Security Bureau in Shenyang, as well as ceasing to issue first generation cards on 31 December 2006, only began the switch over to the second-generation identity card in November 2005 (29 December 2012). Corroboration could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

5. Fujian

A July 2006 notice posted on the website of the Fujian provincial government from the provincial Public Security Bureau states that, in accordance with a directive by the Ministry of Public Security, [translation] "China will entirely cease to accept applications for or to issue the first generation resident identity card as of 1 July 2006 (4 July 2006). Neither further information on the implementation of this directive in Fujian nor corroboration could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

Beijing Daily. 8 March 2006. "By the End of June This Year, the Country Will be Unified In Stopping the Issuance of First-Generation Identity Cards." Excerpt translated by the Translation Bureau, Public Works and Government Services Canada. [Accessed 7 Nov. 2012]

Canada. 6 November 2012. Canadian Consulate General in Guangzhou. Correspondence sent by an official to the Research Directorate.

Fujian. 4 July 2006. Public Security Bureau. Stop Making and Distributing the First Generation Identity Card. Excerpt translated by the Translation Bureau, Public Works and Government Services Canada. [Accessed 7 Nov. 2012]

Liao Shen Evening News. 29 December 2012. "Reminder: Shenyang to Stop Issuing First-Generation ID Cards." Excerpt translated by the Translation Bureau, Public Works and Government Services Canada. [Accessed 7 Nov. 2012]

Liaoning Gateway. 2 September 2008. "About us." [Accessed 29 Nov. 2012]

Nanfang Daily. 12 May 2004. "Second-Generation ID Card to Be Issued in Four Steps Next Year in Guangdong." Excerpt translated by the Translation Bureau, Public Works and Government Services Canada. [Accessed 7 Nov. 2012]

Additional Sources Consulted

Oral Sources: A law professor at the University of Hong Kong did not provide information for this Response. Attempts to contact the following were unsucessful: a visiting scholar at the University of Hong Kong, a law professor at the China University of Political Science and Law and officials at the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa, the Chinese Embassy in Washington, DC, and the Canadian Embassy in Beijing were unsucessful.

Internet Sites, including: China Daily; China Internet Information Center; China Media Project; The China Perspective; China Today; ecoi.net; Factiva; Global Time; Lehman, Lee & Xu; The People's Daily; People's Republic of China, Ministry of Public Security; United Kingdom Home Office; United Nations – Refworld; Xinhua News Agency.