China police tell man he was executed 10 years ago

Document confirming the death penalty on Mr Chen Image copyright Guangzhou Radio and Television Network
Image caption Official documents mistakenly showed that Mr Chen had been "dead" for a decade

Chinese officials have confused a man with a similarly named criminal who's been dead for 10 years, despite a government campaign to crack down on "repeat identities".

The 45-year-old, identified in Chinese media as Mr Chen, applied for a certificate to show he had no criminal convictions for his new job in Guangzhou. But the police refused his application as they said records showed he was convicted and executed in 2006 for kidnapping. Reporters from the Guangdong Radio and Television Network later found that the conviction belonged to another man with the same name and identity card number.

Despite such a record, Mr Chen says he's been living a normal life since his "execution" a decade ago and hasn't experienced any difficulties before. "I was even allowed to apply for a travel permit to Hong Kong and Macau from the government," he told the broadcaster, adding: "All these things are just puzzling." Guangzhou police said there had been a mistake and issued him with the certificate.

The mix-up over the two Chens is one of the more extreme cases of "repeat identity" in China, caused when an administrative error gives citizens an identity card number that's already been issued. The Ministry of Public Security has been eradicating such cases as part of a campaign which ended in June, and Xinhua News Agency says there are now fewer than 10 repeat identity card numbers, down from some 1.1 million in 2009.

Image copyright Guangzhou Radio and Television Network
Image caption Understandably, Mr Chen did not wish to be fully identified on city television

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