China Publicly Shames Borrowers Who Fails to Pay Debts on Time

Asking a person to pay their debts is one tough challenge because a lot of people don’t really want to pay. With constant alibis and other extensions for the payment deadline sometimes it’s just too much.

But the authorities in Hejiang country in China have come up with an effective way to convince borrowers to pay their debts and it is by showing their faces and names in short clips being played in cinemas before the main movie starts. They called this technique “Reel of Shame”.

Image from Oddity Central

According to Oddity Central, the short clip features an animated character that will instruct the audience, “Come look at these laolai“. ‘Laolai’ is a Chinese term for borrowers who fail to pay their debts on time.

“Public shaming has been an increasingly common tactic to punish laolai … along with other repercussions for failing to repay loans, including blacklisting and travel restrictions. For the audiences in the cinema, we specifically chose to expose the names of debtors whose household registration were in that area so it was more targeted and the results would be more effective,” Li Qiang, director of enforcement for Hejiang’s courts, told Chinese website The Cover.

The Reel of Shame is just one of many public shaming methods in China. In fact, last year, the Chinese government rolled out a national system allowing borrowers’ information like name, addresses, id card numbers, photographs, and the amount owed to be publicized and propagated through various channels as a way to let them pay their debts.

Do you think this is an effective way to make these people pay their overdue debts? Do you think other countries should do the same?