News & Opinion | January 24, 2019 12:30 pm

Chinese App Warns When Nearing a Person in Debt

The application is an extension of China's controversial new “social credit” policy.

debt app
A new app in China will alert a user to those with debt. (Silas Stein/picture alliance via Getty Images)
picture alliance via Getty Image

A new app in China can now display a warning once a user comes within 500 meters of someone who’s in debt.

The program functions through the country’s WeChat messaging platform, the New York Post reported, to create what is essentially a map of “deadbeat debtors,” according to Chinese state media.

The app even displays the debtor’s exact location, though it’s unclear if the displayed information includes a name or photo.

“The debtor’s information is available to check in the program, making it easier for people to whistle-blow on debtors capable of paying their debts,” according to China Daily.

“It’s a part of our measures to enforce our rulings and create a socially credible environment,” a spokesman for the Higher People’s Court of North China’s Hebei province added.

This is a dramatic-sounding extension of China’s new social credit system, which attaches a “trustworthiness” score to citizens based on a variety of things like how they behave in public and if they pay off debts. The unlucky citizens who’ve earned a bad score through the new system are finding themselves facing a variety of unpleasant effects, according to the Post, including the shaming that might accompany this new “deadbeat debtors” map.