(ECNS) -- Personal details of more than 4,000 people accused of having past-due loans were published on a website named China Credit Blacklist, the China Youth Daily reported on Tuesday.
The website resembled a government site but was run by the Shanghai Taibao Investment Management Co., which did not legally register the service, the paper said. The site was inaccessible as of Monday afternoon.
The paper had found 4,242 entries containing personal information about people accused of having outstanding loans borrowed from various online lending platforms. The information included names, ID numbers, mobile numbers, the amounts owed, the number of days overdue, WeChat account names, Alipay account names, addresses and educational histories. Even information regarding the family members and relatives of the blacklisted persons, such as their parents, brothers and classmates, was released in great detail.
A clerk at the website told the paper that all information was provided by other online lending platforms. "The online lending companies and the borrowers reached agreements to authorize online publication of the borrower's personal information if he or she failed to repay the loan in due time," said the clerk. "It's legal, and if you disagree, go ahead and file a lawsuit."
As of Monday afternoon, more than 213 pages of personal information had been published by the website, with the number of days overdue ranging from 60 to 402, and the amount of past-due payments ranging from several hundred yuan to more than 10,000 yuan (,477), according to the paper. The majority of people on the list belonged to the post-1990s generation, it was added.
The information released by the site involved three student loan platforms, but none of them were available for comment, the paper said.
Experts say it is illegal to disclose personal information on such a large scale.
"The government should close such websites," said Guo Hua, a professor at the Central University of Finance and Economics. "Non-governmental entities have no right to produce any blacklists, even credit ratings."
Xu Hao, a Beijing-based lawyer, said the website and relevant lending platforms infringed upon the privacy of unrelated third parties, whose rights are protected by law.
He suggested that all persons whose information was leaked should sue the website and lenders.