China: Court begins 'public shaming' for overdue fines

A view of the screen on the outside of the station Image copyright Hunan TV
Image caption The screen shows scrolls through photos every few minutes

A court in China has started naming and shaming people who don't pay fines by showing their images on a giant screen outside a major train station, it's reported.

The initiative is aimed at people who haven't paid court-ordered compensation in the city of Changsha, southern Hunan province. Photos of their faces appear on a huge screen affixed to the outside of the station, in full view of travellers, the Xiaoxiang Morning Post website reports. Alongside the photos are their names, identity card numbers and the amount they owe. A court official tells the paper that it's part of a campaign to protect the public's interests. Most of the amounts owed are in the region of 10,000 yuan ($1600; £1060), but the highest figure is 28m yuan ($4.5m; £3m). While some legal experts have raised privacy concerns, local lawyer Deng Long says the court has the power to publicise people's details however it "deems appropriate" if they've failed to obey court orders.

Many local residents interviewed by Chinese media have welcomed the idea, saying it will act as a deterrent in the future, encouraging people to pay up. "This will show these people that the court means business," one man tells the Xiaoxiang Morning Post. A traveller queuing outside the station was also impressed, telling the China News Agency: "The court has played hardball by exposing them - good job!"

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