Gunning for the love cheats

The Shanghai marriage credit information management and service platform was launched over the weekend to stem various irregularities in the matchmaking industry.
Gong Junqi

Dishonest matchmaking agencies and love rats are both going to find life much more difficult.

The Shanghai marriage credit information management and service platform was launched over the weekend to stem various irregularities in the matchmaking industry.

It aims to crack down on dishonest practices carried out by matchmaking agencies as well as marriage seekers who provide false information — such as whether they have been married. Both will face hefty punishment.

The platform was launched during the Shanghai Love and Marriage Fair.

The platform works through a cross-industry credibility information sharing system that merges data and information from governments, industry associations and third-party assessment agencies, said Fu Chun, director of Shanghai Social Credit Promotion Center.

"Marriage seekers will be able to learn about whether the person they want to date is a marital fraudster or has been involved in dishonest practice in work as a credit information file on individuals will be established, which can truly and completely reveal his or her credibility," said Fu.

Xu Tianli, director of the Shanghai Matchmaking Association, said marriage seekers who are found "with dishonest practice" will be exposed and will face restrictions in a number of fields such as employment, promotion, bank loans, financial and insurance service.

"In the past, we found some matchmaking association members continued providing false information on several other associations even if they were detected by one association because the information is not shared, and an information sharing system will be established in the matchmaking industry to stamp out such practice," said Xu.

He also called on civil affairs authorities to share information early to prevent cheating on marital status.

The platform so far includes more than 10 industries including the legal and insurance sectors, according to Fu.

Meanwhile, matchmaking agencies and workers involved in dishonest or immoral practices will be removed from the Shanghai Matchmaking Association, blacklisted and exposed online.

"By scanning a two-dimensional code, marriage seekers will be able to check the creditability, satisfaction level, number of complaints and service grade of matchmaking agencies before they decide which one they choose," said Fu.

Because of the slack real-name identification and registration system, marriage fraud, bigamous marriage and false information on education background, job, salary and property are not rare in matchmaking, leading to lawsuits and tragedies.

"Some matchmaking agencies and people take advantage of the loopholes in the industry, which hurt marriage seekers and has led to deaths," said Fu.

The latest such tragedy happened in September when 37-year-old Su Xiangmao, WePhone app founder, jumped to his death in Beijing, blaming his former wife.

They met on, one of the biggest dating websites in China, and married soon after. Su had spent 13 million yuan (US$1.9 million) on the woman when they divorced one month after marriage, and she demanded more by threatening to tip off authorities over his tax evasion and grey business.

The woman was exposed to be a "professional" marriage fraudster and it was subsequently revealed there was at least one similar victim before Su.

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