China may not boast the “know anyone’s criminal history,” free background check services that flood the U.S. Internet. But it now has the next best thing.
In an effort to staunch corruption and malfeasance, Chinese officials on Monday launched a website that allows the public to search government databases for records of wrongdoing by individuals and companies
“The website, www.creditchina.gov.cn, is the brainchild of an inter-ministerial committee led by the National Development and Reform Commission and the central bank,” according to Caixin. The Supreme People’s Court, the State Administration of Taxation, the State Intellectual Property Office, and 37 other central government departments and Communist Party organizations are involved.
The site allows access to nearly 870,000 records pertaining individuals and 260,000 related to businesses and legal persons. The records range from defaults on bank loans and tax evasion to court orders and commercial and academic fraud. All the participating organizations will also use the website to distribute news and regulations
The central bank collects and stores credit information on both individuals and corporations. The website is intended to help private investors that need the information to run their businesses. “Analysts say this will complement and expand the central bank’s credit data system, which is now used mainly by banks when they assess lending risk,” reported Caixin.
In December, 21 central government departments signed an agreement to take joint action against individuals and companies involved in major tax evasion crimes, reported Caixin. Under the agreement, offenders will face restrictions in a wide range of fields, including borrowing from banks, bidding for government contracts and issuing bonds. Individuals who fail to pay taxes may also be prohibited from leaving the country.
Asia Unhedged thinks this is all good. But it will still be awhile before Chinese TV runs any guitar-strumming commercials for freecreditreport.com.