China Punishes Over 8 Million People in Debt By Preventing Them From Traveling, Staying at Nice Hotels
The Chinese government has restricted blacklisted debtors from traveling luxuriously and living an extravagant life with their spending habits as well as getting rejected from applying for bank loans and credit cards.
China’s Supreme Court’s aim for the website is to make people comply with the verdicts to repay their debts. The restrictions are placed on individual defaulters, legal representatives and CEOs of companies that are on “high-expenditure consumption“ and “consumption not necessary to sustain normal life or businesses.”
The list only contained 31,259 names when it was first launched by the Chinese government. It was visited more than 180,000 times within its first two weeks.
To date, more than 8.8 million names have been added to the blacklisted debtors website, preventing around 8.7 million people on the list from flying, and 3.4 million from acquiring high-speed train tickets.
The ban is reportedly linked to the person’s ID number, which is being highly monitored by the government, especially when those included on the blacklist purchase tickets for traveling.
“In China, everything is monitored. You have to use your ID card and passport when you buy a plane ticket and go through customs. You can’t avoid it,” said Hu Wenyou, a partner at the Beijing law firm Yingke, the New York Times reported.
There are still some people who try to find a workaround to bypass the system that the Chinese government implemented. One defaulter was fined $15,000 for trying to travel on a first-class flight earlier this year, and another one went as far as getting plastic surgery just to escape being detected by the authorities.
The blacklisted debtors also have to worry about their spending habits and how they maintain a certain lifestyle. They are prevented from staying at any hotels with three-stars or higher, and they won’t be able to enroll their children to expensive private schools.
More importantly, those who are on the list will find a hard time landing a job as most employers will often check the creditworthiness of a job applicant before hiring. More than 170,000 people on the list have already been denied from getting hired in an executive position.
Public shaming is another method that the government uses to urge those in debt to pay up. Some officials have ordered provincial governments to set up a credit rating system that would highlight those who are in debt, Xinhua reported in October.
In August, a Sichuan Province court began recording messages on mobile phone numbers of 20 debtors to get them to pay their fines, saying, “The person you are calling has been put on a blacklist by the courts for failing to repay their debts. Please urge this person to honor their legal obligations.”
Three provinces tried this method, while the People’s Court of Sanmen County in Zhejiang Province rolled out a similar message to the phones of 492 debtors.
People on the list are subjected to their personal information being published throughout the city, including names, ID numbers, photos, home addresses and more posted on many media outlets such as newspapers, radios, televisions or even billboards on buses and public lifts.