China has required real-name registration when users buy phones for years now, but nobody seemed to take the requirements all that seriously. Personally, I set up several phone numbers in China well after the real-name system was implemented without ever actually giving anyone my real name. But now it appears that at least for Beijingers, the system may finally be getting serious, as China’s three major telecom carriers have announced that starting September 1, everyone who uses their services needs to register with their real name and ID number.
Moreover, this no longer just applies to people buying new services; old customers are also required to register their real names if they haven’t already. Users who haven’t registered by Sept 1 will likely see adjustments made to their plan that prevent them from adding or subtracting services — basically from making any changes at all — until they’ve registered with their real names. Ultimately, it’s possible that unregistered users will have their phones shut off entirely, although obviously the telecom companies will do their best to prevent that since it would mean a loss of revenue for them.
We have heard this song and dance before, of course, but I get the feeling that this time Beijing really means business. Those of you out there who haven’t registered with your real names may finally have to give up and surrender your ID information to “the man” or face the prospect of living life without a phone.
(Beijing Daily via Sina Tech)