New rules for telecommunications registration were implemented on Wednesday across China, in what represents another step to administer real-name registration across the board for telecom users.

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) issued a notice on December 28 saying telecommunications operators must require users to show a valid ID, provide personal details, and undergo an inspection before they sign an agreement to provide service. Companies must not provide service to those unable to, or who refuse, to do so.

telecom mobile phone
Photo: Pixabay.

The Ministry said the new rules were put in place to “standardise telecommunications services and to protect the legal rights of telecoms users and operators.”

An expert at government think-tank China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT) said that the steps outlined in the notice are an effective measure to crack down on telecom fraud, according to state radio station China National Radio.

China has required citizens to use IDs to get a mobile number since 2010, but the real-name registration system has been difficult to administer.

Last May, the MIIT required everyone who wants to buy a SIM card in China, including non-Chinese citizens, to show valid identification. It said that 100 per cent of telephone users must be registered using the real-name system by June 30 of this year. Those who have not been registered will have their services cut off by this date.

In the last three years, 300 million users were registered, leaving 100 million who have yet to register, the ministry said in May.

The rules also affect Hongkongers with Hong Kong and mainland numbers assigned to the same SIM card. Their mainland numbers will also be cancelled if they do not register by the end of June.

Catherine is a Canadian journalist and photographer who lived in Beijing for almost two years, working in TV and online media. Aside from Hong Kong and mainland affairs, she is also interested in urban spaces, art and feminism. She holds a BA in Literature and Art History from the University of British Columbia.