I think we have it pretty good in the United States. That's my conclusion after reading a Los Angeles Times story that detailed the Chinese credit card industry. In China they don't mess around. If a card user intentionally defaults on a debt as little as $3,000, that person could be sent to prison for five years -- assuming the leg breakers don't catch up with you first. If you're lucky, you might only get your name listed in the newspaper -- publicizing the fact that you are a deadbeat.
From the story: China charges into credit cards (link here)
Among Chinese credit card users, more than 70% pay the entire balance every month, says Nie Junfeng, a manager in the Bank of China's personal finance department. "This may be related with the tradition that Chinese people, as the saying goes, don't like eating next year's food this year," he said.
But the young generation is different, he said. "They're more comfortable spending tomorrow's money today."
Indeed, the rest of the story details what happened to a man who belongs to China's younger generation. Let's just say that one card company wasn't letting this guy off the hook.