Collective punishment is a punishment or sanction imposed on a group for acts allegedly perpetrated by a member of that group, which could be an ethnic or political group, or just the family, friends and neighbors of the perpetrator. Because individuals who are not responsible for the wrong acts are targeted, collective punishment is not compatible with the basic principle of individual responsibility. The punished group may often have no direct association with the perpetrator other than living in the same area and can not be assumed to exercise control over the perpetrator’s actions. Collective punishment is prohibited by treaty in both international and non-international armed conflicts, more specifically Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocol II.
The rationale behind collective punishment is to root out any chance of revenge or retaliation from the punished person’s clan. At my local barber shop, I once heard a barber say that Westerners are stupid not to practise 连坐 . Chinese people are “smarter”.
In the video below, Xiao Cui touches on the recent spate of foreclosures in China. In spite of its glitzy exterior, the country still lacks a legal framework to help individuals deal with debt caused by business failure or overborrowing while also ensuring creditors are fairly compensated. Bankrupts are commonly known as 老赖 and thanks to big data and ubiquitous connectivity, blacklisting these individuals would result in them being publicly shamed and restricted from a whole range of high end services.
Connectivity also renders the children of 老赖 unable to apply for entry to elite schools. In many cases, families of 老赖 are even barred from certain jobs. Very often, we hear sinophiles mocking human rights activists, asking the stupid rhetorical question: “Can human rights be eaten?”
Well, just like oxygen, human rights can’t be eaten. People take oxygen for granted until they can’t breathe.
How could one mitigate damages if one were to end up in that unfortunate situation? Xiao Cui suggests first trying to negotiate with the bank to extend the payment period. Find a job, any job quickly and start slogging. Otherwise, those who still have some money and other assets with them could liquidate everything and keep cash, get divorced, get friends or relatives to adopt their children and then become 老赖 . In that way, their spouses and children would not be affected by the very smart and traditional practice of 连坐 which some barber I know is so incredibly proud of.