Chinese Personal Profiles: The Dang’an

Published on Author crastoa16

Over the last year, the United States has had many issues come up regarding the NSA, spying, and privacy. Many facts have come to light which have angered citizens and caused widespread protest. The U.S. people demand their privacy and wish to protect it at all costs. While privacy is something that American citizens fight to maintain, it is something that is almost non-existent in China.

The Chinese dang’an is a personal file, or dossier that every Chinese citizen has. It has every fact about them. “The dossiers start with a citizen’s middle-school grades, whether they play well with others and, as they become adults, list their religious affiliations, psychological problems and perceived political liabilities…Copies are kept by local archive bureaus, the police or a person’s employer. This document used to decide whether you could find work or not.In modern times, it’s power and sway over finding a job in this newer, market economy has diminished. However, for government work or state-owned enterprises “…an unfavorable dang;an entry can mar one’s job prospects.”


This document has brought up many issues regarding corruption in China as well. “Corrupt school officials have been caught selling off the files of top students. The buyers: parents of middling students, who assume their identities to apply to college.” A woman, Tsering Woeser was able to see hers after she was fired from her job. She found out it was because she had written favorably about the Dalai Lama. She was able to hide hers and hold on to it, later reading it out loud in a documentary called “The Dossier” which was shown in many film festivals outside of China. In an interview she spoke on how the dang’an is a terrible thing. “[It’s] an invisible monster talking you.”



One Response to Chinese Personal Profiles: The Dang’an

  1. This is part of the Chinese government’s attempts to show itself as omnipotent towards its citizens. In reality, there is no way in which the Chinese government ca keep up with the private life of each and every one of its citizens from the time they’re born till they die.