Chinese App Shames Debtors

These days the totalitarian Chinese government is busy realizing their surveillance state where every citizen’s actions are subject to an extensive spy network that includes high-tech facial recognition sunglasses and flocks of Spybot birds.

The goal is the capability to track, monitor, and quantify both social cooperation and opposition, using a point-based rating system and peer pressure to enforce official community standards.

In China, it takes a village to jail a criminal. Who better to help round up people who were late to make a car payment, haven’t paid the rent, or have an outstanding balance on their utility bill than the general population?

But how to notify the “good” people that “bad” people are within a certain distance of their current location? The answer is: Build a mobile app for portable wireless devices that identifies persons listed as owing money in the local (soon to be national) database and sounds an alarm, that’s how. Then, let human nature take its course.

At the very least, the proud and debt-free person with the new “point-the-finger” app can walk up to the deadbeat and say loudly, “For shame, Debtor! Why do you bring shame on yourself, your family, and your country by not paying for those new shoes I see you wearing? Get a better job!”

Or things could get a lot more real than that. Someone with a bone to pick with their neighbors’ barking dog could just wait until the app signals they have fallen behind in their credit card payment – then, turn them in to the authorities.

Actually, few details about the debt-shaming app have emerged yet. We don’t know if the undesirable’s name or photo will be displayed, if the amount of money owed will appear, or if the creditor will be disclosed.

The China Daily reported only that the app lets users “whistle-blow on debtors capable of paying their debts.”

The Chinese effectively used socio-economic and peer pressures to enforce their one-child law which was enacted in 1980 to limit most Chinese families to one child each.

“City dwellers who broke the law risked losing their jobs and rural families had their homes torn down for having ‘illegal’ children. They faced heavy fines, and their children could be denied public education and healthcare. The policies provoked criticism, but the ruling party argued that the controls improved human rights by reducing poverty,” reported the British Express in May 2018 – two years after the one-child program was abandoned in 2016 due to unintended consequences – notably, a decline in the adult female population, with 33.59 million more men than women.

The statist government supplied contraceptives, forced sterilizations and abortions, and hired grannies to shame women pregnant with a second child.

Now, similar tactics are being used on Chinese citizens by their oppressive rulers to pursue a different population-control strategy. China has been planning its national Social Credit System since 2014.

Here is a peek at what the Chinese government is putting into place – a country-wide digital database that can weave together personal information of every conceivable type for the purpose of the Nannystate bein’ all up in everybody else’s business:

[The Social Credit System] “is based on a complete network covering the credit records of members of society and credit infrastructure, it is supported by the lawful application of credit information and a credit services system, its inherent requirements are establishing the idea of a sincerity culture, and carrying forward sincerity and traditional virtues, it uses encouragement to keep trust and constraints against breaking trust as incentive mechanisms, and its objective is raising the honest mentality and credit levels of the entire society.”

One example of this smooth-talking, hypocritical Chinese governmental “encouragement” is the effective use of mass public shaming. This writer already reported on the public shaming of jaywalkers in Shenzhen by a high-tech system of cameras coupled with digital facial recognition that projects the face and name of these transgressors onto a large screen that looms over the streets.

On January 14, 2019, the Higher People’s Court in Hebei Province in northern China rolled out a new mini-app on the national WeChat mobile internet platform. Forbes called WeChat a “super app” and “app for anything” because it is loaded with functions. WeChat has also been “accused of censoring politically important topics in China, including human rights abuses.”

The Hebei program is called “map of deadbeat debtors” which pretty much says it all. A street map identifies all persons who are in debt within a 500-meter (about 550 yards) radius of the user.

Hebei officials mention that another form of “encouragement” in Communist China is “making it easier for people to whistle-blow on debtors capable of paying their debts” – ratting out your neighbors. The app doesn’t actually blow a whistle but it does flash a warning and reveal the exact location of the miscreant.

A court spokesperson said of the intrusive tattle-tale app, “It’s a part of our measures to enforce our rulings and create a socially credible environment.”

Beijing’s master plan is to create a social blacklist network so vast that all undesirables and persons of interest will be “unable to move even a single step.”

Ironically, the keyword behind China’s social credit score system is “trustworthiness.” Debtors can’t be trusted and undermine society. Therefore, they must be publicly humiliated and subject to community snitching.

The Chinese personal credit score is called “Qian Jiangfen.” Points are called “Qianjiang.”

“Qianjiang points” apply to a 1,000-point system which is divided into five levels. Users who score lower than 550 points need to improve their credit or face the consequences; 550-600 points is considered generally credit-worthy; 600-700 points constitutes a good credit score; 700-750 credit is excellent; and 750-1,000 points hallmark the most “trustworthy” Chinese citizens.

“For the general public who are working properly and obeying the law, ‘Qianjiang’ is generally between 600 and 750 points,” according to the Hangzhou commission in East China.

Chinese citizens who pay their bills on time, obey traffic laws, and support the Communist regime will be rewarded with “green channel” benefits. Lawbreakers will not be so lucky. They will be denied all sorts of services, including the ability to purchase train tickets or fill up their vehicle’s gas tank.

 

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