Hong Kong Identity Card

hong-kong.jpg“May I see some identification, please?” asked a retail clerk in my home town Seattle taking my check. I said certainly and handed the sales woman my Hong Kong identity card. She looked at it blankly for a moment then said, “Can I see some other kind of identification?”

Sometimes when I’m feeling cranky or mischievous, I hand over my Hong Kong ID card when I need to produce some kind of identification. Why not? It is a perfectly valid document. It has my photograph on it. I know of no law that specifies that my state driver’s license has become a national ID card. At least not yet.

The United States is groping towards a national ID card system, compelled both by worries about security in an age of terrorism and the need to control immigration. In doing so it could learn some lessons from Hong Kong.

In the U. S. the driver’s license, issued by individual states, has become a de facto identity card. It is used more for cashing checks and opening bank accounts to getting on aircraft even for domestic flights.

Call me too literal-minded, but a driver’s license is for driving. Identity verification is something else. Why should citizenship be confused with a demonstrated ability navigate through heavy traffic without causing an accident?

I was reminded of the need for such a card by the controversy over Arizona’s new anti-immigrant law. That state has, if nothing else, put the cart before the horse. Before the police can check on somebody’s “papers” one needs to settle on what “papers” a person should be required to carry.

The U.S. clearly has a need for some kind of identification card to cash checks, to board airplanes, even to enter a federal building to pick up tax forms. But Americans instinctively balk at the idea of having to carry around a national identity card. Since strictly speaking nobody actually has to have a driver’s license, we kid ourselves into thinking it is still voluntary.

Before returning to the U.S., I lived for sixteen years in Hong Kong, where everybody over a certain age must obtain an ID card and carry it with him or her at all times. I never considered this a serious infringement on my freedom, although there certainly was a hassle having to obtain one (and to replace one when lost.)

The Hong Kong police can and do stop people at random and ask them to produce their ID cards. It is not uncommon on the streets to see a couple policemen huddled around a young Chinese man inspecting his ID. That this involves profiling is undeniable. In my sixteen years there, I never once was asked by a policeman to produce my card. It was assumed that being a Westerner I had entered on a valid work permit.

You might also like
Preparing a Hong Kong Right of Abode (Permanent Residency
Preparing a Hong Kong Right of Abode (Permanent Residency ...
Hong Kong Right of Abode Downgrade to the Right to Land
Hong Kong Right of Abode Downgrade to the Right to Land ...
How to Apply for Hong Kong Right of Abode - Introduction
How to Apply for Hong Kong Right of Abode - Introduction
Trademark Global, Inc. (HI) Trademark Home 82-7498 Aluminum Credit Card Wallet RFID Blocking Case, Blue
Home Improvement (Trademark Global, Inc. (HI))
  • Features Include: Protect your identity
  • Click-button for easy closing and opening7 expandable pockets made of resistant PVC
  • Hold up to 10 credit cards
  • Measures 425 x 275 x 75-Inch, weighs 28-Ounce
The Elixir Elixir Aluminum RFID Blocking Wallet Case for Credit Card, ID Card, Pink
Office Product (The Elixir)
  • 1 x Aluminum Pocket Wallet for Credit Card, ID Card, Money Holder Case, Pink Color
  • Blocks RFID scanning of your credit cards by identity thieves
  • Six Expandable Pockets: Stores up to 10 Credit Cards
  • Made of Deluxe Aluminum Outer Shell, ABS Interior Durable Contruction
  • Slim and Compact Design for your Pocket: 4.25 x 2.9 x 0.75 inch
How To Apply for the Right of Abode in Hong Kong
How To Apply for the Right of Abode in Hong Kong ...
Hong Kong Right of Abode By Descent For Chinese Nationals
Hong Kong Right of Abode By Descent For Chinese Nationals ...
BITCOIN ATM OPENS IN HONG KONG - Get your Bitcoin in cash
BITCOIN ATM OPENS IN HONG KONG - Get your Bitcoin in cash ...
As Seen On TV Indestructible Aluminum Wallets (Red)
Apparel (As Seen On TV)
  • Lightweight to fit in pocket or purse
  • Organizes cash, credit cards, ID, photos in just a 3/4 thin profile
  • Protects credit cards from privacy RFID scanning thieves
  • Seven slots fold out accordian style
  • 2 3/4 x 4 1/4
BININBOX BININBOX New Fashion Mens Leather Bifold Wallet Credit/ID Card Holder Slim Purse
Office Product (BININBOX)
  • Material: PU leather
  • Condition: Brand New
  • Measurement Approx: 11.5cm (4.53inches) x 9cm (3.54inches) x 1.5cm (0.59inches)
  • Color: Gray
  • 6 Credit card slots ,1 Clear Slot for drive licence or identity card, 2 Bill Compartment
A-szcxtop A-szcxtop™Wallet Credit Card Holder RFID Blocking - Blue Color
Home (A-szcxtop)
  • High Quality, low price.
  • Water-resistant.
  • Protects credit cards, money and keeps them dry and safe.
  • Protects Credit Cards From RFID Scanning and identity theft.
  • Great gift for loved ones.
Related Posts