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China Identification Cards Explained

china identification cards explained.jpeg

The China ID card, also referred to as the resident identity card, is a mandatory card that all Chinese citizens must possess and carry with them at all times. It includes information about the citizen’s date and place of birth, gender, and her or his 18-digit Citizen Identity Number.

Many components need to be validated to ensure that the company with which you are contemplating doing business is legitimate. A valid China ID card provides you with another component that can help you validate the company with which you are doing business.      

Sample China ID card from  Wikipedia

Sample China ID card from Wikipedia

Components: Front

The front of the China ID card includes the following components:

  • People's Republic of China (中华人民共和国) 

  • Resident Identity Card (居民身份证) 

  • Issuing Authority (签发机关) indicating the issuing public security bureau

  • Period of Validity (有效期限)

Components: Back

The back of the China ID card includes the following components:

  • Name (姓名): Chinese documents express the surname (last name) first. Most Chinese citizens have a single character surname.  

  • Gender (性别): male (男) or female (女)

  • Ethnicity (民族): This information will indicate one of 56 Chinese-recognized ethnic groups. Han (汉) remains the most common ethnic group and represents more than 90% of the country’s population.  

  • Date of Birth (出生): Year (年), Month (月), and Day (日).

  • Address (住址): Typically this address indicates the citizen’s place of birth rather than her/his current residence.  

  • Citizen Identity Number (公民身份号码) (See below for more information about the 18-digit Citizen Identity Number).

Citizen Identity Number decoded

As discussed above, the China ID card contains an important piece of information: the Citizen Identity Number, an 18-digit national identification code that remains with the Chinese citizen for her/his entire life. The Citizen Identity Number follows a standardized pattern. Below we break down the components of that number.

0  0 0  0 0 0

Y  Y Y  Y M M  D D

1  2 3


Address Code

Date of Birth Code

Order Code


The Address Code

The address code on the China ID card refers to the Chinese administrative division where the person was born, usually a district or a county. The Citizen Identity Number breaks down as follows, with 2 digits for each component: province, city, district or county. More than 3,000 address codes are currently in use. (The Citizen Identity Number remains constant regardless if the citizen changes her or his household registration, or the hukou).

The seven primary regions in China, include the various provinces within each region, are listed below:  

North China (华北)

  • 11: Beijing (北京)

  • 12: Tianjin (天津)

  • 13: Hebei (河北)

  • 14: Shanxi (山西)

  • 15: Inner Mongolia (内蒙古)

North East China (东北)

  • 21: Liaoning (辽宁)

  • 22: Jilin (吉林)

  • 23: Heilongjiang (黑龙江)

East China (华东)

  • 31: Shanghai (上海)

  • 32: Jiangsu (江苏)

  • 33: Zhejiang (浙江)

  • 34: Anhui (安徽)

  • 35: Fujian (福建)

  • 36: Jiangxi (江西)

  • 37: Shandong (山东)

Central China (华中)

  • 41: Henan (河南)

  • 42: Hubei (湖北)

  • 43: Hunan (湖南)

South China (华南)

  • 44: Guangdong (广东)

  • 45: Guangxi (广西)

  • 46: Hainan (海南)

South West China (西南)

  • 50: Chongqing (重庆)

  • 51: Sichuan (四川)

  • 52: Guizhou (贵州)

  • 53: Yunnan (云南)

  • 54: Tibet (西藏)

North West China (西北)

  • 61: Shaanxi (陕西)

  • 62: Gansu (甘肃)

  • 63 -Qinghai (青海)

  • 64 - Ningxia (宁夏)

  • 65: Xinjiang (新疆)

The Date of Birth Code

This code represents the individual’s date of birth, expressed as the year, month, and date.

The Order Code

Men receive an odd number and women receive an even number.

The Checksum

This segment of the China ID Card indicates that the Citizen Identity Number is valid.


As with all Chinese documents, you should take steps to ensure that the China ID card is official and valid. We’ve outlined the steps you can take to verify the validity of a Chinese document in our companion article “Certifying Chinese documents’ authenticity.”

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