The Chinese government has created and maintains a publicly accessible national blacklist listing names and personal information of citizens who have been convicted by the court system of settling debts. Individuals in these conditions are known as "laolai," which means something like "deadbeat." Traditionally, China tends to encourage its citizens to save money and faces the act of borrowing money as a taboo. In this sense, it has been creating measures to embarrass the "laolai" and pressure them to pay their debts.
Thus, some telecommunications companies in China have been attributing special touches in order to alert who is making a call that is about to come into contact with an indebted person. A voice message still appeals to the caller to ask the caller to pay what he owes.
These special touches have been in place since 2017, having originated in Guanyun, in eastern China. In that location, according to the China Daily, if someone tries to call a debtor he hears the following message: "the customer you are calling for has been blacklisted by the Guanyun Court for not paying your debts. Thank you for encouraging this person to fulfill his or her legal obligations. The Guanyun Court thanks you for your support. "
In the north of the country, in Hebei province, an application was developed that warns people when they are passing a debtor's tax address. In addition to these measures, many people on the black list are also prohibited from reserving train tickets, acquiring properties or holding high positions in state-owned enterprises.
According to Business Insider, all of this is part of China's broader campaign to police the behavior of its 1.4 billion citizens. The country intends to launch a "social credit system" to monitor, reward and punish people according to their behavior. The system is still in experimental mode, with different measures distributed by different municipalities. The Chinese government hopes to be able to implement it in full and throughout the country by 2020.