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China Develops App That Lets You Know When a Person in Debt is Nearby so You Can Report Them

Authorities in the Chinese province of Hebei have created a smartphone app that allows users to see if they are within 500 meters of a person in debt so they can report or publicly shame them.

Failing to pay off your debts is generally frowned upon all over the world, but one country has been cracking down on the practice harder than any other. In the last couple of years, Chinese authorities have used a variety of techniques to coerce debtors to pay up, with public shaming being the most popular one. Last year, the local government in Hejiang county, Sichuan, started showing their faces and names during short clips played in cinemas before the main screening, and now authorities in Hebei have announced an app that detects debtors in a 500-meter-radius, allowing users to report or shame them.

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Chinese County Shames Debtors by Showing Their Faces During Cinema Screenings

Authorities in┬áHejiang county, China’s Sichuan province, have come up with a controversial method of convincing borrowers to pay up their debts – showing their faces and names during short clips played in cinemas before the main movie starts.

Called “Reel of Shame”, the clip features an animated character who tells the audience “Come look at these laolai” before showing the borrowers’ faces, names and other details on the big screen. The derogatory term ‘laolai’ refers to borrowers who fail to pay their debts on time. To maximize the technique’s effectiveness, authorities show the borrowers’ faces in cinemas in their local area.

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