All Abstracts > Recontextualizing debt: China’s credit collection callers and anti-collection alliance during Covid-19
Recontextualizing debt: China’s credit collection callers and anti-collection alliance during Covid-19
Author | Affiliation:
Tom MacDonald | University of Hong Kong
Panel 2C | China’s techno-social realities and futures
The Covid-19 outbreak brought major disruption to the Chinese economy causing many workers to miss debt repayments. This paper examines how Chinese debtors and credit collection callers responded to the uncertainties surrounding the handling of debt in the immediate weeks following the initial outbreak. Financial institutions expected debt collection agents to persist in pursuing repayments from defaulters. Meanwhile, desperate debtors formed a loosely structured “anti-collection alliance” online to propose counterstrategies against the debt collectors by referring to the vague state regulations as the third-party authority. We argue that amidst “moral ambiguity” over the rules of handling debt during a national crisis, both parties sought to establish their own moral justifications with regards to debt obligations, by creating their own recontextualizations of debt.
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