My National ID Duplicated with Another One

A policeman called me and asked me to go to the police station this morning. The reason is, someone in Guangxi Province sent a post mail to them and claiming that someone there has the same national ID number as mine.

National ID Number

People in China are numbered – there is a unique ID assigned to everybody. I got mine when I was 18 years old, just before I came to Shanghai, and Yifan got his several days after his birth. It is the number printed on the Naitonal ID card. Obviously, it is an important number.

The number is pretty long – 18 digits, and you’d better keep it secret, since the information reveals your location to get the number, the date you were born, and your gender.

The Formation of the Number

This is the format of the number:



AABBCC is the area code of the location where you got your ID.

YYYYMMDD is the birth date, like 19700302

SSG is a serial number – just in case there are more than one person born in the same area on the same date, the police station is responsible to issue different numbers to different people. The 17th digit is gender digits – odd numbers are assigned to male, and even numbers are assigned to female.

X, the last number is check sum – that computer can check to see the previous numbers are correct.

Someone has Exactly the Same Number As Me

From the record, I found someone in Guangxi has exactly the same National ID number as me.

That means, this guy is also male, born on the same day as me, and lived in the same neigborhood as I did.

AND, the policeman there made a big mistake by giving the same serial number to us.

According to the police, this happens all the time, since the ID was issued before computer was widely used, and they are putting big effort to correct the mistakes. That is the reason they call me.

The Resolution

Finally, it turned out that I need to write a statement, claiming that I have already gotten the notification, and I don’t want to change my national ID number, and signed the letter. That’s it.

“What’s next?” I asked?

“I will send all the documents along with your statement back to the police station where the mail came from.” The policeman answered.

“Then what?”

“Then the policeman will talk to the other guy to see if he is willing to change his national ID number.” He said.

“What if he don’t want to change either?” This is an obvious question I need to ask.

“Then, the policeman in Guangxi will send a mail to me again.” Said the policeman before me.

“Then what?” I became a little bit impatient.

“Then I will give you a call again. BTW, could you please leave your mobile phone with me?” He answered.

“Then what’s next?” I asked?

“Let’s talk about it when it happens” was the answer.

So, I left the police station – it ruined my beautiful Sunday afternoon. Knowing someone in this country has exactly the same national ID as me is a strange feeling – and to change it is just a nightmare for me – I even don’t remember how many systems, especially those in banks, and on my driver’s license, record my current ID number.

Good luck to me and the other unlucky guy.

15 thoughts on “My National ID Duplicated with Another One

  1. this is weird.

    i thought this ID number IS identical

    i hope mine is

    sorry for you and your afternoon

  2. Weird indeed! Even if both of you are male, the odds for the 17th digit being the same are just 1:4 or 20%, respectively. If you have a 1, the other guy might have a 1, 3, 5, 7 or 9.

    Besides, I didn’t quite get how the last digit is determined. What exactly does it check?

  3. DB: check sum is a computer science concept. Although I doubt its usefulness on as an ID number.

  4. I’m so sorry for this, hope the other man agrees to change his number, but if not, let us know what should happen.

    I think it’s a big BIG deal! ufff

  5. It is legal to live (and to fly) in the US without a driver license or an ID card. A free bank card with a photo may work as photo ID. Is it compulsory to have an ID in China?

  6. How intresting it is! I’m thinking that if the other one is a girl ,what will happen?

  7. If the other person was a girl, she’d be out of luck because her 17th digit would be wrong and therefore need to be corrected. Maybe JS should offer him to pay for a sex change operation :)

    @ iddd:

    Don’t know if it’s compulsory. A friend of mine grew up abroad but kept his Chinese citizenship, and didn’t have an ID card until he applied for it at the age of 19. Prior to that, he only had a passport. However, I’ve been told that in general most Chinese people only have an ID card unless they intend to travel abroad. Crossing borders is the main purpose for which to apply for a passport in the first place. Since the majority of Chinese people doesn’t travel abroad, the percentage of ID card holders should be higher than passport holders. But I don’t know whether all people in rural areas have an ID card at all… (not meant to be rude, though – just ignorance!)

  8. I am so sorry to hear that. Good luck to you! Please mention how you get a final solution in the future, if you have one.

  9. how’s everything? hope that the other person has done any big crime using the same ID. hehe… all the best.

  10. haha.. what a pity. Everyone has a national id. But usually the central unit have to control it and allocate a number to each individual. Usually before the computerise system, the department have to sent the applicant’s document to the head quarters to obtain a number, in order to avoid a duplication like your case. A national id is not a secret but sometimes people can simply fraud it for other purposes. You are lucky the police give you the choice to decide. Meaning China’s police are still friendly.. Good luck !

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