Fake IDs a Pervasive Problem in China

By seth
April 30, 2014 5:46 am Last Updated: April 29, 2014 10:49 pm

The deputy director of a police bureau in China’s Northern Shanxi Province has been put under investigation for owning eight IDs. As with many corrupt officials in China, he was first exposed on the Internet, but with an unusual twist.

It all began when a Chinese surfer found a bag left on a Beijing subway. In the bag were various documents, a complaint letter, and a USB drive containing image files of eight fake IDs. The letter claimed that deputy police director Fan Hongwei used eight fake IDs to hide large amounts of embezzled money. 

After verifying Fan’s identity on the government website, the Chinese surfer decided to publish all of the materials on the Internet. 

It is still unknown who the people are who wrote the complaint letter, but they may very likely be Fan’s colleagues, because the letter states that they have reported Fan many times to the local Shanxi provincial Party disciplinary committee–all in vain. 

Once, after getting drunk, Fan disclosed that he got rid of the complaints by bribing Jin Daoming, the secretary of the disciplinary committee. 

As a matter of fact, corrupt Chinese officials have no problem obtaining fake IDs. For example, Liu Tienan, the former head of China’s National Energy Administration, was in possession of 12 foreign passports, when he was arrested. He had both Australian and Canadian passports as well as 12 airplane tickets to various destinations inside and outside of China.

With such easy access to fake IDs, corrupt officials achieve many goals that everyday people cannot imagine. Jun Aiai, a deputy director of a county branch of the Rural Commercial Bank, used her four fake IDs to buy 41 new residential houses, strictly meant for first-time home buyers. Huang Dong, a principal of an agricultural school in Zhaoqing City, Guangdong Province, used three fake IDs to marry three different women, with whom he had five children.

In an environment inundated with corrupt officials, everyday Chinese people too have learned how to fake their status to get what they want. 

To get around the one-child policy, one couple got a divorce and arranged a fake marriage for the wife with another man. After the birth of the couple’s second child, the woman plans to divorce the fake second husband, and get back with her original husband. 

Some couples, in order to buy their first house at a lower price, transfer their home property rights to one person and then file a divorce. The party without property under his or her name then purchases the house. 

Media reports show that such practices have been used for obtaining various other things, such as better schools for their kids, tax evasion, and so on. The practice is so widespread that it is not an overstatement to say it is pervasive throughout Chinese society.

Fake, mistaken, and duplicate IDs flood China’s ID and residential registration systems, and this is keeping authorities from posting marriage registrations and asset ownership information online. If they did post these, it would make it much harder for corrupt officials to enrich themselves. For this reason, officials are blocking such efforts.

If a ruling party–a state–cannot even manage basic social data, how can it be expected to do a good job managing the country? No wonder people call China the No. 1 counterfeit country in the world.

Read the original Chinese article. 

Translation by Tan Hohua. Written in English by Arleen Richards and Gisela Sommer.

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