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Freeloaders could be exposed on Shanghai database

Updated: 2013-01-30 04:12
By YU RAN in Shanghai ( China Daily)

A credit-rating database holding the records of enterprises and individuals is expected to be launched in Shanghai in the summer with the aim of clamping down on dishonest practices across the city.

Zhou Guoxiong, a deputy to Shanghai People's Congress and the Party chief of the Shanghai Commission of Economy and Information, said the database has been in the making for three years, and will provide "an accurate and reliable system to regulate dishonest behavior more efficiently".

It will be open to the public by the end of this year.

Zhou said the system will cover a mix of information, including credit information from banks on bad loan histories, records of illegal activity held by industry and commerce departments, and criminal records from public security departments.

"The major function of the database will be to offer transparency between officials, enterprises and individuals and create a more trustworthy and reliable city."

Zhou added that after the formal launch of the system in June, all relevant departments will be required to regularly update credit information on the database.

The creditworthiness of individuals in the city has been a heated topic recently, mainly due to rising numbers of people riding the Shanghai subway without paying.

Such violators are likely to find their credit damaged in future, making it harder to get a loan, said Zhou.

A recent online video showed 21 people slipping through a ticket gate at the city's Longyang station without buying tickets.

The Shanghai Morning Post reported that people riding the metro for free are stealing from the system to the tune of 10 million yuan ($1.6 million) a year.

An estimated 0.16 percent of the city's daily six million metro users never pay for their tickets, while the percentage of freeloaders in Shanghai's big metro stations has reached 2 to 3 percent, the newspaper said.

Zhou added that other offences that might land people on the credit blacklist might include traffic violations.

Zhu Jianqiang, the general manager of a clothes trading company in Shanghai, said he liked the sound of the new database.

"It will have the effect of regulating our personal and working behavior and also enable us to see whether business partners are reliable or not."

According to experts, the system could also be used to remind people that providing incorrect financial or personal information might seriously affect their daily lives.

"The launch of the database is an essential step to rebuild trust among individuals, officials and enterprises, and will be an effective deterrent, reminding people that such illegal behavior should not be tolerated," said Lu Hanlong, a professor at Institute of Sociology of Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

Lu added that it is also necessary for the local authority to make sure the uploaded information is accurate and updated, to guarantee the privacy and reputations of individuals and enterprises.

He said that enterprises will also be able to use the database, for instance, to check the records of potential business partners.

According to the metro authority, the maximum fine should be no less than five times the most expensive metro fare in Shanghai, which is 11 yuan.

Contact the writer at yuran@chinadaily.com.cn

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