Tik Tok, Tik Tok: Chinese court uses video platform to give debtors the hurry-up

Video setting alleged debtors’ names and addresses to music gains thousands of views as authorities favour public shaming as means of retrieving money

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 26 July, 2018, 5:05pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 July, 2018, 5:05pm

A court in central China has turned to the music video app Douyin – known as Tik Tok in other countries – to reveal alleged debtors’ personal details in an attempt to persuade them to pay up, local media reported.

Kaifeng Longting People’s Court in Longting, Henan province, has made a video displaying the names of eight debtors along with the amounts it says they owe, their addresses and partial identities, set to dramatic background music, HNR.CN reported last Friday.

Posted on Thursday last week, it had been viewed more than 8,000 times in its first week on the platform.

A spokesperson for the court told HNR.CN on Monday that they had chosen the tactic to attract the attention and support of more people and “compress the surviving space” of the alleged debtors.

Chinese debtors shamed with broadcast of names and faces on giant screens on May 1 holiday

It follows the use of Douyin last month by a court in Nanning, in southern China’s Guangxi province, to disclose information about 10 debtors, with rewards offered to find them.

The video platform is not the first creative means used by Chinese courts to enlist the public’s help in tracking down debtors.

In May, courts in Hejiang county in Sichuan province, in the southwest of the country, played a short video featuring pictures and details of debtors in cinemas.

China to create national name-and-shame system for ‘deadbeat borrowers’

Another district court, in the eastern Anhui province, shamed debtors publicly in May by displaying their faces and identities on giant billboards and televisions in public areas for at least 11 hours a day.

Chinese authorities have made it a national policy since October to blacklist debtors who fail to repay bank loans and reveal their personal information.

In the past five years, courts around China have identified at least 1.1 million debtors, and banned 1.2 million people from buying air tickets and 458,000 people from buying train tickets, according to the Supreme People’s Court.