Legal experts say the regulation shows more care for citizens Three new laws were adopted by the National People's Congress Standing Committee yesterday, including one on identity cards that has the indirect effect of curbing police power and offering more protection to migrant workers. The committee also adopted a law on port facilities and prevention of radioactive pollution, Xinhua reported. The identity-card law would come into effect next January, it said. Under the identity-card law, no organisations or individuals have the right to check or confiscate a citizen's identity card except for police with proper reasons. Police must produce their own identity papers when they demand a person's identity card and must keep confidential any personal information obtained from the card. It has been common practice in sweatshop factories for employers to seize identity cards from job-seeking migrant workers as collateral. The cards would only be returned when the migrant workers were discharged from their jobs. Legal experts said the new law offered greater protection to ordinary citizens. Ying Songnian, a law professor of the National School of Administration, said: 'The law is showing more care for citizens.' But the new law still allows police to confiscate identity cards from individuals who are subject to 'survillance in residence' - an administrative penalty which permits police to put individuals under house arrest without formal charges or court approval. According to Xinhua, the new law also includes extending identity cards to those below the age of 16. However, ID cards issued to teenagers below the age of 16 will only be valid for five years and must be renewed upon expiry. Moreover, the new law also covers the issuance of new identity cards equipped with new technology. The new identity-card law was the second legal measure taken by the committee in less than a month to give greater protection to migrant workers seeking work in cities. The committee this month repealed a regulation on the repatriation and shelter of vagrants and beggars that has been widely criticised as an abusive tool, used by police to impose extortion and forced labour on homeless vagrants. Amnesty International yesterday said the move to repeal the vagrant law would go some way to ending the abuse. 'If implemented effectively, the new vagrancy regulations should help to curb the widespread abuses,' the London-based group said in a statement. The new law on port facilities will go into effect next January. It mainly relates to the management of port facilities and maintenance of security and order. The law on radioactive pollution will become effective in October.