If you are a debtor, then you must tread carefully in China. Authorities in the Chinese province of Hebei have developed a smartphone application, a map of deadbeat debtors, that enables users to check if they are within 500 meters of a debtor. This leads to reporting of the person in debt or public shaming.
While the inability of debtors to pay off their debts isn’t something that is welcomed in any part of the world, Chinese authorities are carrying out a crackdown the likes of which have never been seen. They have made use of a plethora of techniques for forcing the debtors to pay up. Out of these various techniques, public shaming is the one that has remained the most popular one. In fact, last year, the local government in Heijang county, Sichuan came up with yet another ingenious idea.
The faces and names of the debtors were shown in small video clips that were played in cinemas before the main screening. The most recent technique is via the app that has been developed in Hebei and will be able to detect debtors within a 500-meter radius thus enabling the users to report or shame them.
The app has been described as a map of deadbeat debtors and is accessible via the Chinese social media platform WeChat. It has been reported that the debtors’ information can be accessed using the app thus making it possible for the potential ‘whistle-blowers’ to report these debtors if they appear to be in a position of paying off their debts. A spokesperson for the Higher People’s Court of Hebei said, ‘It’s a part of our measures to enforce our rulings and create a socially credible environment.’
While there are reports that the ‘map of deadbeat debtors’ is capable of showing the precise location of a person in debt; it remains to be seen if it will be showing people with any sort of debt or only the ones that have debt over a certain limit.
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