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How Does China’s System of Dishonest Judgment Debtors Operate?

Thu, 24 Jan 2019
Categories: Insights
Editor: C. J. Observer


I. Why establish a system of the List of Dishonest Judgment Debtors?

Chinese courts have long been facing difficulties in enforcing civil judgments. This has made it hard to truly resolve the disputes, and it has also weakened the credibility of Chinese courts.

Chinese courts believe that in order to solve the enforcement dilemma, in addition to improving the court's ability to locate the judgment debtor and his/her property, and standardizing the enforcement actions of the court, it is also necessary to impose credit discipline on the dishonest judgment debtor and thus force him/her to fulfill his/her obligations.

To this end, the Fourth Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in 2015 clearly called for “accelerating the establishment of a legal system for credit supervision, deterrence and punishment of dishonest judgment debtors”. Since then, the General Office of the CPC Central Committee and the General Office of the State Council have promulgated the "Opinions on Accelerating the Construction of Credit Supervision, Warning and Disciplinary Mechanisms of Dishonest Judgment Debtors" (关于加快推进失信被执行人信用监督、警示和惩戒机制建设的意见), and proposed the establishment of a "joint disciplinary mechanism". This mechanism allows the information of dishonest judgment debtors to be quickly transmitted to various government departments, financial institutions and enterprises, thereby limiting dishonest judgment debtors to engage in more types of behavior.

Pursuant to these policies, the Supreme People's Court (SPC) of China continues to improve its system of the List of DishonestJudgment Debtors. The SPC’s most important task is to continuously increase the number of government departments, financial institutions and enterprises that cooperate with it, and to transmit the information of dishonest judgment debtors to these institutions in a timely manner, and cause them to limit the behavior of judgment debtors. These efforts were finally reduced to the “Several Provisions on the Information Disclosure Concerning the List of Dishonest Judgment Debtors” (关于公布失信被执行人名单信息的若干规定) revised and passed in 2017.

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II.The implementation effect of the system of dishonest judgment debtors

We have collected some speeches regarding the implementation effect of the system of dishonest judgment debtors from Chinese courts and media, such as:

As of March 2018, courts at all levels nationwide had publicly disclosed the information of dishonest judgment debtors for 9.961 million person-times, restricted the purchase of air tickets for 10.148 million person-times, restricted the purchase of bullet train and high-speed train tickets for 3.912 million person-times, and 2.215 million people voluntarily fulfilled their obligations under credit punishment. [1]

In September 2016, Zhejiang High People's Court signed an agreement with Zhi Ma Credit Management Co., Ltd., stipulating that Zh iMa Credit will incorporate the information of judgment debtors into the credit evaluation system, and simultaneously share such information with financial institutions that have a cooperative relationship with Zhi Ma Credit. [2] Zhi Ma Credit is a subsidiary of Ant Financial, the largest Internet finance company in China, while Ant Financial is an affiliate of Alibaba, China's largest e-commerce company.

The Chongqing Administration for Industry and Commerce disclosed that as of July 2018, Chongqing had restricted dishonest judgment debtors serving as business executives for 17,282 person-times; and 2,400 enterprises were unable to participate in bidding and government procurement because they were dishonest judgment debtors. [3]

III.The problem of the system of dishonest judgment debtors

1. There are multiple credit platforms in China, and the data between them is not fully shared.

At present, the platforms where we can inquire about credit information nationwide mainly include but not limited to: “Credit China”,“China Enforcement Information Online” (,“Credit Reference Center of the People’s Bank of China” ,“National Enterprise Credit Information Publicity System”,“China Professional Credit Management Platform” . These platforms are independent of each other, and the information of Chinese courts’ dishonest judgment debtors has not been effectively integrated into these platforms. [4]

The basic situation of these platforms is as follows:

Credit China: Guided by the National Development and Reform Commission, the People's Bank of China, supported by the members of the Inter-Ministerial Joint Conference on the Construction of SocialCredit System, and sponsored by the State Information Center. The list of dishonest judgment debtors publicly disclosed by it is limited to those dishonest judgment debtors who are legal persons.

Credit Reference Center of the People’s Bank of China: It is operated by the People's Bank of China and provides a personal credit information service platform, but such credit information is limited to bank use only. 

National Enterprise Credit Information PublicitySystem: It is operated by the State Administration for Industry and Commerce and provides reporting, publicity and inquiry services for credit information of market entities such as national enterprises, specialized farmers’ cooperatives, and individually-owned businesses.

China Professional Credit Management Platform: It is operated by the National Talent Flow Center of the Ministry of HumanResources and Social Security, focusing on providing the “professional credit” of employees.

2. The credit punishment imposed on the dishonest judgment debtors lacks humanitarian concerns

On16 July 2018, the Taocheng District People's Court of Hengshui City, HebeiProvince proposed that seven private schools within its jurisdiction should not enroll the children of dishonest judgment debtors. If such students have been admitted, they should be ordered to drop out or transfer to the public schools. [5]Similarly, on 20 July 2018, the Shunde People's Court of Guangdong Province issued a similar notice in an attempt to prevent the children of 31 dishonest judgment debtors from attending private schools with high tuition fees within its jurisdiction. [6]This approach has led to public debate, where some support such practices, and others believe that this practice violates the right of minors to education and that parent’s debt shall not affect the basic rights of minor children. [7]

3. After dishonest judgment debtors fulfill their debts, their information is not deleted from certain credit databases in time

According to scholars' surveys, in 2016, the People's Bank of China Jiangsu Branch handled a total of nine objections to bank credit information, most of which involved objections to the information of dishonest judgment debtors. The applicants who filed the objection stated that in the enforcement case listed in the personal credit report issued by the bank, the applicants have already fulfilled the debts related to the case, and the SPC has removed their names from the List of Dishonest Judgment Debtors on the ChinaEnforcement Information Online, but these records are still recorded in their personal credit report. It can be seen that the update of the bank's personal credit data is delayed. In 2016, in Jiangsu Province, such objections took an average of 35 days to process, which affected the personal credit information recovery of the parties. [8]

In summary, the system of dishonest judgment debtors has become the main means for Chinese courts to enforce civil judgments for five years. This system has achieved certain results, but it has also given rise to some problems and raised public concerns.



[1] 最高人民法院院长周强2018年3月9日在第十三届全国人民代表大会第一次会议上所作《最高人民法院工作报告》,

[2] 浙江高院引入第三方征信体系,“老赖”将受多方经济信用限制,

[3] 重庆2400家企业因存在失信信息招标投标受限,

[4] 王小梅.法院执行信息化建设的成效、问题与展望——以人民法院“基本解决执行难”为背景[J].中国应用法学,2018(01):8-22.

[5] 河北衡水限制“老赖”子女就读私立学校引关注 23人主动还款140余万,

[6] 31名“老赖”欠债上千万子女却就读高收费民校,

[7] 限制“老赖”子女入读高收费学校 法院回应质疑,

[8] 李敏.个人信用报告中失信被执行人信息异议处理问题探讨[J].征信,2017,35(08):44-46.



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Lin Haibin also contributes to the post.

Contributors: Guodong Du 杜国栋 , Meng Yu 余萌

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