Beijing may include unpaid parking fees in personal credit reports

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/5/8 19:38:40

A view of a stereo garage in Shanghai in March Photo: IC

Beijing will study the inclusion of unpaid parking fees in personal credit reports, a move that has sparked heated online discussion over whether the power of the credit system is being abused by including such actions from daily life.

The Beijing Municipal Commission of Transport said Wednesday it has connected the online parking fee payment system to the city's transportation management system, which enables Beijing's transport authority to send reminders to drivers who park their vehicles but don't pay the fees, according to media reports. The authority is also studying the inclusion of such unpaid fees into personal credit ratings in the future. 

The People's Bank of China (PBC), the country's central bank, is optimizing and upgrading the personal credit system to include more information, but it hasn't yet given an exact timetable for the launch of the new version.

The PBC denied in April that the upgraded version would include utility data. 

While some netizens said it is necessary to establish a credit system that serves as the "second ID" of an individual and penalizes dishonesty, others doubt whether the database could truly reflect the creditworthiness of an individual.

"There are orders of importance and defaulting on parking fees is too trivial. Sometimes drivers do not deliberately fail to pay the fees. It's simply because they did not see the reminder sign or did not know where to pay," said a netizen called Hulun on China's Weibo. 

"If you abuse the system, then you may lose trust and credibility among the general public," said another netizen using the name Dulunhaiyibian, while also raising concerns over data privacy and leakage. 

Dong Dengxin, director of the Financial Securities Institute at the Wuhan University of Science and Technology, told the Global Times on Wednesday that it is important to establish a comprehensive credit system, rather than a one-sided database that only focuses on financial activities, in order to regulate social behavior and improve the construction of a law-based system.

"People's daily activities such as electricity fees and traffic violation should also be included to provide an objective picture of an individual." 

Before including all personal information, developers of the system have to "stifle the risk of privacy leaks" from the beginning, and detailed and strict rules concerning such leaks should be drafted before a final roll-out of an "authentic and objective system" that could evaluate individuals' behavior in a comprehensive manner, said Dong.

The updated credit system is part of China's efforts to build a social credit system to improve social management efficiency and undercut financial risks.

Under the system, China restricted 411 people from taking high-speed trains and 1,011 people from taking flights in April, according to official data.

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