A court in East China's Jiangsu province has authorized the use of customized ringtones to shame people into paying their court-ordered debts, reports thepaper.cn.
Ten individuals have already been hit with the telecom version of the "Scarlet Letter."
People who call the mobile phone number of those on the list are forced to listen to a pre-ring prompt produced by local court in Guanyun County.
"The user of the number you've dialed has been listed as someone who is avoiding debt repayments ordered by the Guanyun County People's Court. Please urge this person to fulfill their legal obligations. The Guanyun People's Court thanks you for your support."
As mobile phone numbers in China now require real-name registration, changing the phone number will not put an end to the 'ringtone shaming.'
Wang Yong with the Guanyun County People's Court says the new campaign is specifically focused, and has so far only targeted people the Court knows have the means to repay their debts. The majority of the ten people on the new 'shame campaign' are local business owners.
Authorities in China have already been given a variety of options this year to try to deal with 'deadbeat debtors,' including bans on the purchase of airline tickets, restrictions on train travel services and driving privileges, on top of restrictions to additional loans.