China Shames Debtors in Innovative Ways

Here in Canada when someone asks a financial institution for a loan we have companies such as Equifax to check credit worthiness. We also have laws that govern if you default, what happens. In China, government involvement seems to have no bounds.

Small and large companies can go bankrupt if they do not pay back money owed. We have bail bondsmen that will repossess cars, boats and other movable objects.

In China everything is different. The Chinese government provides huge loans to state enterprises. These state owned companies are old, outdated and huge. They continue to over produce steel, concrete and other products. This over production is then sold worldwide at rock bottom prices, forcing domestic steel producers to shut down. As a result the US and the EU have added tariffs to Chinese steel. These state owned enterprises are not profitable and contribute to world-wide overproduction. So why does the Chinese keep feeding these companies loans? These state owned enterprises not only employ a huge number of Chinese people, but also pay for their social services such as medical, housing, education, etc. To shut down any of these state owned enterprises would risk social unrest. Thus, it is the lesser of two evils to keep feeding the beast.

This leaves private and smaller companies that may have loans they cannot repay. China seems to be employing some “innovative” ways of shaming these people:

  • Public Billboard: If you don’t pay you will have your name in lights, for all to see while they drive by
  • Shaming Message on all incoming calls: If you don’t pay anyone who phones you will receive an automated message saying that you owe money. That will surely kill your business.
  • travel blacklist for planes, trains: If you don’t pay then you don’t travel. And don’t ask a friend to buy you a ticket, because they check your ticket against your ID before you board.
  • Public Website of those who have not paid: If the database has over 7 million names, that is a lot.

Innovative, yes, but all these would be illegal here in Canada, due to privacy concerns. We have strict laws against using a 3d party company such as the phone company, to censure someone who has not repaid their loan. Granted unlike here in North America, in China loans are somewhat rare.

internationally China has also extended commercial loans. How these loans will be repair by very poor countries is difficult to say.

Addendum 2017 Dec 13 China Names and Shames Tech Tycoon With Debt Blacklist: Credit defaulters are shamed on a public database, may not be able to buy train, plane tickets, real estate.

Citing Chinese laws, the court order says Mr. Jia cannot engage in “high spending” or any spending “not necessary for living and working.” The relevant law elaborates further, stating that people whose spending is restricted cannot travel first-class on planes or trains, spend at expensive hotels or golf courses, buy or build luxurious houses, purchase cars that are not necessary for business operations, travel for leisure or pay for their children to study at private schools…

“In China, everything is monitored,” Mr. Hu said. “You have to use your ID card and passport when you buy a plane ticket and go through customs. You can’t avoid it.”

Addendum 2018 May 16 Shaming at the Movies in China. Innovative

For the audiences in the cinema, we specifically chose to expose the names of debtors whose household registration were in that area so it was more targeted and the results would be more effective…

The courts are also naming offenders on outdoors electronic screens and though posters on buses…

China rolled out a national system to expose borrowers who had defaulted on their loans in 2017, allowing their names, identity card numbers, photographs, home addresses and the amounts owed to be published across various channels.

2018 Oct 18 Chinese court blacklists former AC Milan owner Li Yonghong over US$10 million debts: Borrowed a lot of money 60M yuan/$8.7M from China, bought a European soccer team AC Milan, no assets to seize. Now cannot leave China, passport confiscated, cannot buy an airplane ticket, social credit score in the dumpster. Spectacular crash.

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