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The map gives blue, yellow, orange and red alarms based on the amount of “deadbeats” around you. (Picture: China Daily)

“Deadbeat Map” shows which people around you are on a financial blacklist

WeChat mini program rolled out in the capital of Hebei shows deadbeats

This article originally appeared on ABACUS

Wondering if anyone bad with money is around you right now? China has a WeChat mini program just for that.

Deadbeat Map” pretty much does what it says: Reveal the location of laolai -- a word used by authorities to refer to people who fail to repay their debts, and are put on a social credit blacklist. Open the mini program and you’ll see the location of those people if they’re within 500 meters of you… though for now it only works in Shijiazhuang, the capital of Hebei province.

It might seem like a violation of privacy, but in China it’s pretty normal: The country began publicly naming and shaming deadbeats last year under its social credit system. 

Millions of people have been banned from taking over flights and train trips. And it’s not just average people: Famous tech companies leaders like Ofo founder Dai Wei and LeEco founder Jia Yueting have also been affected. Those who are blacklisted will have their information listed on national and local government websites and are available for anyone in the country to look up and see.
This information is also in the mini program -- their names, national ID numbers, and why they’re on the blacklist is visible with a tap. Authorities say the shaming is intentional, calling it a “creative use of the internet to precisely expose deadbeats.”
The map gives blue, yellow, orange and red alarms based on the amount of “deadbeats” around you. (Picture: China Daily)
Other places in China have different approaches to warning people about “deadbeats”. A county in Guizhou added ringback tones to the discredited people’s mobile phones, so anyone that calls knows they're about to speak to someone who's bad with money.

But the social credit system -- aimed at “boosting trustworthiness” in Chinese society, is beginning to expand beyond just financial issues. A single mom in Chengdu found herself banned from making some purchases because of a divorce lawsuit. And a university decided not to accept a student because his father was on the social credit blacklist.

China’s social app to rule them all wants to judge you for your purchases

For more insights into China tech, sign up for our tech newsletters, subscribe to our Inside China Tech podcast, and download the comprehensive 2019 China Internet Report. Also roam China Tech City, an award-winning interactive digital map at our sister site Abacus.