The Chinese government has set up a “social credit” system that will rank people based on their behavior. The social credit system was first announced back in 2014. According to a government document, the ranking system is based on the mantra “keeping trust is glorious and breaking trust is disgraceful.” The Chinese government wants to make the program fully operational by 2020 but at the moment, the pilot is covering millions of people already. The scheme is mandatory.
The “social credit” system works more or less like a credit score system. Based on a person’s behavior, the social credit can go up or down. Things like bad driving, posting fake news online, buying too many video games, or smoking in a non-smoking zone will negatively affect a person’s social credit while “good deeds” will improve it. Chinese citizens with low social credit will face various sanctions and some of them are highlighted in this article.
A Ban from Flying or Getting the Train
People who have low scores on the social credit system will be restricted from traveling. So far, over 9 million people who are ranked low in the system have already been affected by a travel ban. In some cases, you may be allowed to travel if you have a low social credit system but access to luxury options like a business class flight or train service will be out of reach.
Throttling Internet Speeds
The Chinese credit system will also monitor if people pay bills on time. This is also like the credit card system but with a moral dimension. Those who don’t pay the bills on time will be denied access to fast internet. The same thing will happen to Chinese citizens who purchase a lot of video games, those who spread fake news online, or those who according to the Chinese government waste a lot of money on frivolous purchases.
A Ban from the Best Schools for You or Your Kids
Military service is considered an important part of the growing up process among young Chinese. Those who fail to carry out military service will be denied access to the best schools in the country. The government has already punished 17 people who refused to enroll in military service last year by barring them from enrolling in top schools.
A Ban from the Best Jobs and the Best Hotels
People with a poor social credit will be considered “untrustworthy.” They will be locked out of top state jobs in state corporations and big banks. Crimes such as fraud and embezzlement, in particular, will have a big effect on the social ranking. The government will also ban people from the best resorts and holiday destinations including top hotels.
Citizens who rank high on the credit system will get some rewards. They will be able to rent things without paying deposits, get the best rates when they apply for bank loans, discounts on energy bills, and the perfect match on dating sites. Human Rights Watch has termed the program “chilling” but there’s no doubt that the Chinese government won’t care.