Pro­fes­sion­als call for new, wider-rang­ing mea­sures

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By CAO YIN

De­spite the ini­tial suc­cess of the debtors’ black­list, le­gal pro­fes­sion­als have warned that it’s too early to say if the sys­tem will pre­vail.

At present, most of the re­stric­tions tar­get in­di­vid­u­als, not cor­po­rate debtors. “It’s hard to con­trol or limit busi­nesses if they refuse to com­ply with ver­dicts,” said Lin Xiao, a deputy judge in the en­force­ment depart­ment at Bei­jing No 1 In­ter­me­di­ate Peo­ple’s Court.

Although he fa­vors the re­stric­tions as in­di­rect eco­nomic pres­sures that can per­suade de­fault­ers to clear their debts, he said that the mea­sures are far from suf­fi­cient.

“When a com­pany re­fuses to re­pay money, we can ban its chair­man from trav­el­ling overseas, but other re­lated in­di­vid­u­als can still travel overseas and the com­pa­ny­may still refuse to pay,” he said.

More­over, if prose­cu­tors use banks’ net­works to re­search debtors’ as­sets, they can only ac­cess records re­lated to savings and own­er­ship of prop­erty, stocks and cars, ac­cord­ing to Lin.

“Given China’s rapid eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, the list should in­clude much more than just those four items,” he said. “Also, some of the in­for­ma­tion is in­ac­cu­rate, so we can only use it as a clue to lo­cate other as­sets.”

In Lin’s opin­ion, de­fault­ers should not be re­stricted in ev­ery as­pect of their lives: “A per­son’s right to earn a liv­ing is the most im­por­tant pri­or­ity.”

Cheng Lei, an as­so­ciate law pro­fes­sor at Ren­min Univer­sity of China, said re­stric­tions should not be im­posed un­til a per­son’ s hu­man rights and ba­sic life­style have been pro­tected.

“Ask­ing peo­ple in con­tempt of court to re­turn money is nec­es­sary, but it does not mean we should im­pov­er­ish them,” he said.

By con­trast, Chen Wei, a civil and com­mer­cial lawyer in Bei­jing, felt the sys­tem should be tougher and called for a wider range of re­stric­tions.

“There is no con­flict be­tween pro­tect­ing debtors’ rights and im­pos­ing re­stric­tions on them,” she said. “Their rights should be pro­tected when they make good on their obli­ga­tions, but we ur­gently need to set lim­its for dif­fer­ent re­stric­tions and make them easy to use.”

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