Woman tracks down the imposter who stole her future

By Zhang Yiqian Source:Global Times Published: 2016-5-6 5:03:02

Wang Nana Photo: Courtesy of Baidu

Wang Nana was riding on the bus when her lawyer sent her a text message, telling her "the result is out."

She immediately went online and read a report from the government of Zhoukou, Central China's Henan Province. The report said that her college entrance notice had indeed been sold to another person. Then that person went on to live the life she could have had, using her name, going to her college and securing her dream job afterwards. The government also declared that 13 people related to this case have been punished. 

This concluded the identity theft case that has dogged her for 12 years.

Identity theft

Wang found out about the identity theft last year purely by chance.

She was applying for a credit card last May in Luoyang, Henan and the bank told her that the files associated with her ID showed she has a junior college degree, while she wrote she had a high school degree.

She then realized her identity had been stolen. She went to a credentials verification website under the Ministry of Education, and found that "Wang Nana" had graduated from Zhoukou Vocational and Technical College.

The name was hers, the ID number was hers, and the date of birth was hers. But the picture was not.

She started looking for the woman who had taken her name. She went to the school, found its list of contacts, and copied down that woman's phone number. She also found someone who knows the imposter and got her QQ number.

On QQ, Wang found out the woman's real name is Zhang Yingying. She's a teacher in Zhoukou, is married and has children.

Difficult pursuit 

In order to contact Zhang, Wang frequently went back to Zhoukou. At first, she had only wanted Zhang to stop using her information and cancel the degree. But after a few rounds of talking to Zhang and her father, Wang found her goal was almost impossible.

In October 2015, Wang met Zhang's father Zhang Heting, in front of the school she should've gone to. He told her Zhang Yingying wouldn't cancel the degree, because then she would lose her job. He proposed giving her some money to compensate, maybe 80,000 yuan ($12,304). But Wang refused.

After the fruitless meeting, Zhang Heting told Wang to think about his offer. He then got in a taxi and left, leaving her to stand in the chilly wind all by herself.

At that moment, she was confused and upset, and tears rushed out.

She felt she was being treated like a money-grubbing, greedy cheater, but in fact, she only wanted to correct this injustice because it had already affected her life.

She called Zhang Yingying on the phone, hoping to talk some sense into her, but Zhang didn't listen either.

"Why are you making a fuss over this stupid school? You may have passed the entrance exam, who says you could've become a teacher afterwards?" Zhang said on the telephone.

Because of these harsh words, Wang decided she had to get to the bottom of this.

In February 2016, Wang finally contacted the local media. Within a week,  her story was all over the Web.

The Zhoukou government released the final investigation report last week. According to the report, after his daughter failed to get into college, Zhang's father went to his friend, Hu Xiaolin, who was in charge of distributing college entrance notices. Hu gave Wang's college entrance notice to Zhang, who then found a printing store and copied Wang's ID, adding his daughter's picture.

With the fake ID, he was able to access Wang's files with the local higher education authorities. Then his daughter filled out college registration forms with Wang's information.

The truth was finally out. But it has already changed the lives of two people involved. 

Changed lives

When Wang never got her acceptance notice, she just made her peace with the fact that she "didn't make it to college."

She went to work in a factory. During her breaks, she wondered what would've happened if she had made it to college.

Wang's parents are both farmers and have four children. They had to sell their pigs in order to pay for her to go to school.

In 2004, she signed up for a class in design because she had no college degree and couldn't get a good job. In 2005, she started working a printing shop in Zhengzhou, Henan and earned 300 yuan per month. She then got married, had children and started her own business.

On the other hand, Zhang Yingying started living Wang's life. According to the Beijing News, her mother  changed the name on her ID card to "Wang Nana" at the local police station.

Gradually, it became her only name, for the next 12 years.

In 2010, Zhang Yingying officially became a middle school teacher. Zhang Heting told The Beijing News his family sat together and made dumplings that day to celebrate.

Zhang Yingying has never missed a day at work, her father said. "She loves being a teacher too much."

After the incident, Zhang Yingying stopped going to the school and her father has been handled over to law enforcement authorities.

Wang said she's not very satisfied with the final report. It had vague descriptions and important details have been left out, such as what happened to the print store owner that helped Zhang's father make the fake ID card. But she is trying to not let this affect her too much. She said she also might go to college again and try to complete her dream.

However, this year has inevitably changed her. A year ago, she didn't like to talk to others and was afraid of trouble. But now, she's happy to express herself, has a Weibo account and she's talking about "citizen rights," a word she learned from her lawyer.

"If there's no punishment, then people will always go on doing bad things, won't they?" she wrote online.

Newspaper headline: Doppelganger detective

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