Chinese app exposes people nearby with debt – report

MANILA, Philippines  Officials from the Higher People's Court of the North China province of Hebei recently deployed a mini-app on the WeChat platform that pinpoints on a map nearby people who don’t pay their debts, The Next Web reports.

The site, which cited the state-owned China Daily, says the app will show debtors within a 500-meter radius and display their personal information to the public. This includes their names, national ID numbers, and the reason why they have been put on the debt map.

The app, the state paper says, will supposedly turn citizens to whistleblowers who will help authorities expose debtors capable of paying their dues. 

"It's a part of our measures to enforce our rulings and create a socially credible environment," a spokesman of the court told the paper. 

The Chinese government already had plans for such an app as early as 2017 and advised authorities to have them set up, as reported by Xinhua News Agency.

It’s also not the first time Chinese courts have toyed with the idea to expose debtors to the public. Last year, local courts from the province of Anhui took advantage of a busy holiday to expose debtors by reportedly putting their faces and personal information in billboards and screens for the public to see.

The debt-identifying app is the latest in what seems like China’s grand plan to implement a “social credit system” which will rank citizens based on behavior. –