China’s Social Credit System Puts Its People Under Pressure To Be Model Citizens
Meg Jing Zeng, 25 Jan 18
       

China has introduced the Social Credit System in 12 demonstration cities. Shutterstock

In less than a month, China’s Lunar New Year will bring the country’s annual epic travel rush – the largest human migration on earth.

While many are planning trips to their home towns to attend family reunions, millions more Chinese citizens have been blacklisted by authorities, labelled as “not qualified” to book flights or high-speed train tickets.

This citizen ranking and blacklisting mechanism is a pilot scheme of China’s Social Credit System. With a mission to “raise the awareness of integrity and the level of trustworthiness of Chinese society”, the Chinese government is planning to launch the system nationwide by 2020 to rate the trustworthiness of its 1.4 billion citizens.

What ‘credit’ means in China

The word “credit” in Chinese – xinyong (信用) – is a core tenet of traditional Confucian ethics, which can be traced back to the late 4th century BC. In its original context, xinyong is a moral concept that indicates one’s honesty and trustworthiness. In the past few decades, its meaning has been extended to include financial creditworthiness.

So what does “credit” mean in the Social Credit System?

It is a question Chinese authorities have been exploring for more than 10 years. When the plan of constructing a Social Credit System was first proposed in 2007, the primary goal was to restore market order by leveraging the financial creditworthiness of businesses and individuals.

Gradually the scope of the project has infiltrated other aspects of daily life.

Actions that can now harm one’s personal credit record include not showing up to a restaurant without having cancelled the reservationcheating in online gamesleaving false product reviews, and jaywalking.

Ninan Transport Police demonstrates how facial recognition is used to identify pedestrians jaywalking. Nanjin Transport Police's public Weibo post


Reaping rewards for ‘good deeds’

One shared focus of the country’s existing pilot schemes is to generate a standardisedreward and punishment system based on a citizen’s credit score.

A Chinese citizen showing her ‘trustworthy card’ Henan Broadcasting's public Weibo post

Most pilot cities have used a points system, whereby everyone starts off with a baseline of 100 points. Citizens can earn bonus points up to the value of 200 by performing “good deeds”, such as engaging in charity work or separating and recycling rubbish. In Suzhou city, for example, one can earn six points for donating blood.

Being a “good citizen” is well rewarded. In some regions, citizens with high social credit scores can enjoy free gym facilitiescheaper public transportand shorter wait times in hospitals. Those with low scores, on the other hand, may face restrictions to their travel and public service access.

At this stage, scores are connected to a citizen’s identification card number. But the Chinese internet court has proposed an online identification system connected to social media accounts.

Naming and shaming of blacklisted citizens

Publishing the details of blacklisted citizens online is a common practice, but some cities choose to take public shaming to another level.

Several provinces have been using TV and LED screens in public spaces to expose people. In some regions authorities have remotely personalised the dial tones of blacklisted debtors so that callers will hear a message akin to: “the person you are calling is a dishonest debtor.”

Sign in to view full article

       
Use Your Body, Not WiFi, to Transmit Secure Passwords
Sending a password or secret code over airborne radio waves like WiFi or Bluetooth means anyone can eavesdrop, including hackers.
Jennifer Langston
Fri, 6 Jan 17
Does Playing Chess Make You Smarter? A Look at The Evidence
The stereotype of the chess player is someone who is smart, logical and good at maths. This is why so ...
Giovanni Sala, Fernand Gobet
Wed, 17 May 17
The Dead End of Communism
Communism is estimated to have killed at least 100 million people, yet its crimes have not been compiled and its ...
Epoch Times
Sat, 11 Feb 17
You Too Could Be Multilingual – It’s Just About Unlocking The Skills Inside
Think back to when you first started learning a foreign language. For many readers it was probably French, German or ...
Christopher Timothy McGuirk
Thu, 6 Apr 17
Norway’s Oil Fund Is A Tarnished Gold Standard For Sustainable Investment
The largest sovereign wealth fund in the world, Norway’s US$930 billion Government Pension Fund Global, is seen as the epitome ...
Beate Sjåfjell
Thu, 4 May 17
Join us today!
AcuSLIM - Acupuncture Weight Loss Programme
An Epoch Times Survey
Read about Forced Organ Harvesting
BUCHERER
Sports Elements