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Real Name Registration to Become Mandatory for Chinese Phone Users

According to Nanfang Daily, a newspaper based in Guangdong Province, major Chinese telecommunication companies including China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom have issued internal documents requiring that, starting on September 1 of this year, local branches must implement the "requirement of real identity registration for telephone users," which the PRC’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) issued in June of this year. The internal documents demand that phone users provide their real identities. China Mobile even published a "notice on its official website on the comprehensive implementation of real identity registration for phone users."

According to the "requirement" issued by MIIT, real identity registration for phone users refers to the fact that when operators of telecommunication services process the registration of land line and mobile phone (including wireless broadband card) users, they need to be truthful in providing the real identity of the user while processing the user agreement or confirming the services. In other words, starting from September 1, not only the new users, but existing users who process a transfer, relocation, or other business need to provide their real identities.

As early as 2010, MIIT announced the implementation of real name registration for mobile phone users, but it was not carried out successfully. This time, it is applied to all phone users instead of just mobile users. For the first time, the "requirement" also penalizes the operators who do not comply. All operators of telecommunications are now obliged to run an annual self-checkup of the implementation of real identity registration. Those who fail to do so are subject to fines between 10,000 yuan (US$1,634) and 30,000 yuan (US$4,902).

Source: Nanfang Daily, reposted by Xinhua, August 29, 2013