The Chinese government does not appreciate people who do not pay their dues and they are going all out to name, shame and ban those who are culpable.
According to state-run news site China Daily, the government has created a mobile app that tells users if they are near someone who is in debt. The app, called (this is so good) the "map of deadbeat debtors" - yes it's really called that - flashes when users are within 500 meters of a debtor and reveals their exact location.
What's more, users of said app are encouraged to publicly shame or report a guilty party to the authorities if it is determined by the app that he or she is capable of repaying that debt.
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The revelation has caused quite the stir since the publication reported it and citizens clearly feel that the government wants to infringe on their privacy.
China, though, doesn't operate like most countries and, given that they're keen on having a fully functional "social credit" system by 2020, they're looking to take measures. The system, which scores individuals based on how they behave in public, will require all citizens to have an identification number that will be linked to a permanent record.
The deadbeat debtor app is available through WeChat, a popular messaging application in the country and the government is of the view that persons in the Hebei province will find it harder to skip out on payments.
"It's a part of our measures to enforce our rulings and create a socially credible environment," said a spokesman from the Higher People's Higher Court.
Once a user is informed that he or she is close to someone in debt, he/she can view personal information such as names, national identification numbers and the reasons the debtor was added to the list.
Can't wait until poker adopts thishttps://t.co/fnLBT53TqM— Mike McDonald (@MikeMcDonald89) January 23, 2019
The full social credit system will be operational next year and, from all indications, it will be used to disallow persons with low scores from traveling, acquiring loans or landing jobs. Scores can be lowered if someone posts fake news online or plays video games excessively. Alternatively, ratings go up when citizens complete Good Samaritan tasks such as volunteering or donating blood.
This is actually pretty scary. Of course, the debt part is somewhat understandable, but someone being discriminated against because he plays Fortnite for hours just doesn't seem all that fair - unless you really hate Fortnite.