Published on : Saturday, February 23, 2019
As per the National Public Credit Information Center, about 5.5 million people were barred from buying train tickets in 2018. Would-be air travellers in China were blocked from buying tickets 17.5 million times last year. About 128 people were blocked from leaving China because they had taxes dues. The reason behind this is the controversial ‘social credit’ system.
The ruling Communist Party says this will improve public behaviour. They opine that penalties and rewards under ‘social credit’ will improve order in a fast-changing society. If you have failed to pay fine, then you cannot travel. The system is part of efforts by President Xi Jinping’s government to use technology from data processing to genetic sequencing and facial recognition to tighten control.
In Oct. 2018, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence criticized it as ‘an Orwellian system premised on controlling virtually every facet of human life.”
The ruling party plans to have a nationwide ‘social credit’ system in place by 2020 but has yet to say how it will operate.
Penalties will include restrictions on travel, business and access to education. A slogan repeated in state media says, “Once you lose trust, you will face restrictions everywhere.”
Offenses penalized under “social credit” last year include failure to pay taxes, false advertising or violating drug safety rules. Individuals were blocked 290,000 times from taking senior management jobs or acting as a company’s legal representative.
‘Social credit’ is one facet of efforts by the ruling party to take advantage of increased computing power, artificial intelligence and other technology to track and control the Chinese public.