China / Society

China tackles growing identity crisis

By Cao Yin in Beijing and Qi Xin in Zhengzhou (China Daily) Updated: 2016-05-25 07:54

China tackles growing identity crisis

The authorities are working to eradicate duplication of official documents after two well-publicized cases highlighted a rising problem, report Cao Yin in Beijing and Qi Xin in Zhengzhou, Henan province.

Thirty provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions are understood to be setting up a system to prevent identity theft in China. Although no details have yet been released, the system will ensure that the information given to authorities is accurate and that identity cards and hukou, or household registration certificates, match the named owners, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

Keeping identity-related information secure has become a problem in China. In a report published in July, the Internet Society of China said 78.2 percent of netizens have had their personal details - names, addresses or identity numbers - disclosed without authorization.

The authorities are now acting to tighten up the system in the wake of two well-publicized cases that made national headlines after it was revealed that one woman's college place had been taken by an imposter, while another discovered that she had had no legal status, and therefore no access to benefits, for six years.

A traumatic year

Wang Nana said the past year has been the most traumatic of her life, leaving her panic-stricken and with little hope.

The problem began when the 33-year-old from Zhoukou, a city in the central province of Henan, applied for a bank loan. Her application was refused after the bank ran a credit check that suggested she had submitted inaccurate information on the loan form.

The mystery was solved when Wang discovered that someone else was using her identity, and had even taken her place at college in 2003.

According to the bank's credit check, Wang had graduated from the Zhoukou Vocational and Technical College in 2006, even though she had never attended the school.

"I was dumbfounded. I couldn't believe that another person had stolen my dream and made it come true for themself. I wanted an explanation," said Wang, who runs a photocopying outlet in her hometown.

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