China’s Punishment For People With Bad Debts: No Fast Trains Or Nice Hotels

Qin Huangsheng once imagined a better life in the city when she left her home village to become a factory worker at age 16.

Now, in her early 40s, she has $40,000 in personal debt and a base salary of $400 a month. Debt collectors are hounding her. She is blocked from buying tickets on China’s high-speed rail, just one of the penalties the government is increasingly imposing on people who don’t pay their bills.

On the aging slow trains she is left to ride, Qin sometimes looks at the other passengers and thinks: “I wonder if they’re all bad debtors like me.”

People across China are being weighed down by their debts and a system that penalizes them for not paying the money back. Beijing is cracking down on delinquent debtors by seizing their salaries or restricting them from getting government jobs, as well as curbing their access to high-speed trains and air travel.

Many are forbidden from buying expensive insurance policies and told they aren’t allowed to go on vacation or stay in nice hotels. Authorities can detain them if they don’t comply.

The number of people on a publicly available government delinquency blacklist has jumped by nearly 50% since late 2019 to 8.3 million today. Courts can put people on the blacklist when they don’t fulfill judgments against them to pay money back or are deemed to be not cooperating with legal proceedings.

Read more here from the Wall Street Journal.