Brooklyn Journal of International Law


Ding Chunyan

First Page



Although there has been literature generally discussing China’s social credit system, little research carefully examines the nature and logic of the judgment-defaulter blacklist system, from which the broader blacklist system under the social credit system originated. This article reveals that China’s judgment-defaulter blacklist system pragmatically utilizes a strategic combination of “moral conviction” and “joint sanctions” to remedy the failure of the judiciary to perform its duty of judgment enforcement and the ineffectiveness of the legal approaches to enhancing judgment enforcement. The judgment-defaulter blacklist system runs parallel to the existing legal system and will likely impose double punishment on discredited judgment defaulters. Moreover, the joint sanction mechanism, by applying ancient China’s Legalism theory of “A chaotic society calls for heavy penalties,” has violated a number of fundamental legal principles that contemporary Chinese law embraces, thus casting doubt on the legality, reasonableness and due process of the joint sanctions imposed on discredited judgment defaulters. The broader blacklist system under the social credit system is subject to the same criticisms. Given the increasing application of the blacklist system, the role of the Chinese legal system might be diluted significantly. Since the Chinese national legislature is deliberating the draft of the Civil Compulsory Enforcement Law, this article argues that the joint sanction mechanism against discredited judgment defaulters should be abolished, and all credit-related restrictions and sanctions on them and a broader range of discredited parties must be imposed in compliance with the rule of law.