26
Jul
09

chinese ID theft nightmare

at least in the us you don’t get your identity stolen by sleazy government officials who resell it to someone richer and dumber

“When the central government talks about the economy and development, it sounds so great,” said Mr. Wang, the day laborer. “But at the local level, corrupt officials make all their money off of local people.”

Student files are a proven moneymaker for corrupt state workers. Four years ago, teachers in Jilin Province were caught selling two students’ files for $2,500 and $3,600; the police suspected that they intended to sell a dozen more. In May, the former head of a township government in Hunan Province admitted that he had paid more than $7,000 to steal the identity of a classmate of his daughter, so his daughter could attend college using the classmate’s records.

While not quite as important as in Communist China’s early days, when it was a powerful tool of social control, the file, called a dangan, is an absolute requirement for state employment and a means to bolster a candidate’s chances for some private-sector jobs, labor experts say. Because documents are collected over several years and signed by many people, they are virtually impossible to replicate.

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