All Quiet in China

Publication date: 14 Dec 2018

Naked bodies to secure loans
Microcredit is actively developing in China. The latest study by Ant Financial showed that 45 million out of 170 million people born after 1990 in China have a microloan account that allows them to buy anything, from TVs and cars to burgers, and pay for their purchases in monthly instalments.
Some microloan sharks have realized that young shoppers are desperate for loans, and demand that borrowers provide naked selfies as collateral. If the borrowers fail to pay back on time, the lenders threaten to pass these selfies to the borrowers’ families and friends. Many lenders also charge a high rate of interest on the original loan, thus pushing their victims deeper into debt and forcing them to send more pictures and videos. These kinds of transactions are known in China as “naked loan services”.
In 2016, 10 gigabits of naked selfies of 161 young women holding their IDs were leaked online. Most of the victims were aged between 19 and 23 years, and generally borrowed from $1,000 to $2,000. Others were reportedly given the option to work in the sex industry to pay off their loans.

Children fool the artificial intelligence to play video games
The largest Chinese game producer Tencent has recently started using a technology of face recognition to verify gamers’ identity. The system compares images with photos and information from the national database. Individuals under 18 can spend only two hours a day playing video games, and those under 12 have no more than an hour.
Young players try different ways to circumvent the rules. Some of them take pictures of relatives while those are asleep; others try to imitate voices of their grandparents when communicating with the support service. There are children who even ask their parents or adult friends to call the support and ask them to lift restrictions for some time.
The company says that such attempts to trick the system do nothing more than motivate for further improvements. Tencent plans to add similar age restrictions to ten of their most popular games.
Chinese gaming market is the largest in the world. Despite of tight restrictions imposed on media and online content, Chinese gamers spent more than $34 billion on games last year.

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