A shocking article out of China is bizarre enough but this comment on it takes the cake.
A commenter says, “This is amazingly awesome, if we had that here in the US it would reduce crime and prevent all issues of excessive personal debt we have now in the US.”
So what is the amazingly awesome thing the person is enthusiastic about and wishes we had in the U.S.?
It’s a smartphone app in China that can identify delinquent debtors nearby and report them to the court system for further action.
The Laolai Map app means “Deadbeat Debtor Map” and allegedly “pinpoints the user’s location and scans a radius of 500 meters (550 yards) for any laolai, including individuals, company employees and other organisations. The public can share the information as WeChat moments or with friends.” – Source
The court in China is quoted as saying, “The development and application of the map can further realise the connection and sharing of information on debtors and create a social honesty framework that limits those who lose their credibility in many ways.”
People who are found to be struggling with financial issues and reported to the court can wind up on a list of people banned from flying or purchasing high-speed rail tickets. Currently, 18 million people are banned from flying and 5.5 million from riding on a fast train.
But this isn’t the first wild hack at dealing with debt in China. We can’t forget the nude selfie as collateral. Or the freelance gig jobs as local debt collectors.
And then you’ve got the court-sponsored billboard of delinquent debtors. “The Shushan District Court in Hefei broadcast the photograph, name, identity number, amount owed and other information for each culprit on giant screens for 11 hours a day at public squares during peak travel times, Hefei Evening News reported on Wednesday.” – Source
Another court worked with a telecommunications company to provide a recorded message when you called someone behind on bills. It said, “The subscriber you are calling has been put on a blacklist by the Guanyun County Court for failing to repay their debts. Please urge the person to fulfill his legal obligations. The Guanyun County People’s Court appreciates your support. Thank you!” – Source
Or how about learning of people who are behind on bills when you go to the movies?
All of this just proves the old expression, “No matter how bad it is, it can always be worse.”
Next time someone is all stressed out that a collection letter arrived or a collector called, at least you are not in China and being hunted down with a smartphone app, banned from travel, shamed during a movie preview, or have your picture on a local billboard in a train station.