Apparently, the current ID system for China’s citizens is broken, and thus it must be fixed. The Global Times’ tells us of a new ID information system that would strengthen and streamline the system currently in place. Writing in the political theory magazine Qiushi, the 9th highest-ranked Politburo member Zhou Yongkang argues for the necessity of an improved ID database: “It had become urgent to establish a system to identify a citizen solely by a single identity card…including information such as social security, family planning status, housing status, education, taxation, commercial and other financial information.”
Related departments should deploy the identification card system to establish a national database, “to better manage and serve the country’s citizens,” Zhou wrote. From the government’s view, there are legitimate reasons for needing to upgrade their ID database. According to FutureGov, much of the current information on the current ID system that features RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) chips on ID cards is apparently error prone, with mismatches of names and duplicate ID numbers being issued.
At least one member of the Chinese intelligentsia isn’t convinced. CCTV commentator Wang Shichuan expressed concerns that the new database would fail in aiding service delivery, one of the stated benefits of the new system: “Population management is an important part of social management,” he said. “However, even if the identification card would be the only reference for a citizen in the future, people registered in different areas would still enjoy very different social welfare such as health insurance, birth policies, education for their children, which is somehow discriminatory and backward.”