University accused of using student IDs to get credit cards
A university in Xian secretly used the personal information of at least 11,000 students to apply for credit cards as a return favour for a bank loan, the mainland's media reported.
And when exposed, reports said, the university's propaganda chief threatened to detain a reporter investigating the case.
Xidian University, an electronic engineering institution in the capital of Shaanxi province , applied for the credit cards at a city branch of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China from April to July without informing the students, according to People's Daily.
Bank staff said they 'wholesaled' the cards to students with the 'agreement and help' of the university.
The so-called help involved passing on personal information and faking students' signatures.
The deal was a return favour to the bank for granting loans for campus expansion.
Few students knew their personal information had been used.
After the exposure, the cards were never issued and students protested against the university's violation of their privacy on the internet and in interviews with the media.
On China National Radio last week, university officials said they did not see anything wrong with the sale of personal information, and threatened to 'conquer all the information channels' to stop media inquiries into the matter.
University spokesman Jiang Jianzhou was recorded threatening a reporter that he would order security guards to detain her on campus.
He also vowed to take on Tianya, a popular website known for its vibrant chat rooms. The radio clip was quickly picked up and widely circulated on the internet. Mr Jiang and the university were lambasted by netizens as 'shameless'.
According to the mainland's law on citizen identity cards, an infringement of information ownership carries a fine of less than 1,000 yuan (HK$1,137) or a maximum of 10 days' detention.
Xinhua has reported that the university apologised to the students and promised to cancel the credit cards. On its website, the university said it had 'attempted to help students enjoy favourable services' at the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, and denied it had acted out of self-interest.
Trade in data
There have been many cases of personal data being misused
The fine, in yuan, faced for violating identity card information is less than: 1,000