explanation of “when ID cards are a thing long forgotten”
Walking down a city street, walking up the stairwell of every apartment building more than a few months old, you can see stickers and stamps reading “办证刻章” all over. “Ban zheng” means to process documentation, and “ke zhang” means to carve an official stamp or seal.
Such stamps and stickers advertise the illegal services of producing fake documentation such as licenses, student IDs, certifications, diplomas, and so forth. They also produce seals and stamps that are supposed to be the official marks of businesses on things like receipts and contracts.
There are all sorts of not so nice reasons that people have such documents produced. But there are some relatively harmless reasons as well. Especially in areas with schools, some people will have fake student IDs produced so that they can get good prices at local businesses and restaurants that offer discounts to students.