Beijing Plans Social Credit System Of Punishments And Rewards That Sounds Very ‘Handmaid’s Tale’

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Written by Ann Brown

Not only is Big Brother watching citizens in China, but the government will also soon be grading them on their actions. China has launched a “social credit” system that will rank citizens beginning in 2020. Judge each of its 1.3 billion people based on their social behavior.  In short, China will judge each of its 1.3 billion people based on their social behavior.

If it sounds like a scene from the TV show “Handmaid’s Tale” or “Black Mirror” it’s not.


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“Like private credit scores, a person’s social score can move up and down depending on their behavior. The exact methodology is a secret — but examples of infractions include bad driving, smoking in non-smoking zones, buying too many video games and posting fake news online,” Business Insider reported.

And low scores will be punished. Offending citizens will be banned from buying tickets for domestic flights, the best schools will be off limits for those citizens and/or their children, and low scorers can forget about getting good jobs — they will be reserved for high scorers. Low-scoring citizens will also not be allowed in the best hotels and will even be blocked from joining the military. China will even take away pets from “bad” citizens.

On top of this China plans on making the names public of who is ranking low in the system.

Social Credit System
Chinese girls pose for a selfie near the mascot for the China International Import Expo in Shanghai, Monday, Nov. 5, 2018. Chinese President Xi Jinping promised Monday to open China wider to imports at the start of a high-profile trade fair meant to rebrand the country as a global customer but offered no response to U.S. and European complaints about technology policy and curbs on foreign business. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Here’s what good citizens will get, according to reports: discounts on energy bills, the ability to rent things without deposits, better interest rates at banks, easter travel. China’s plan to is moving a step closer to reality, with Beijing set to adopt a lifelong points program by 2021 that assigns personalized ratings for each resident.

“The Social Credit System (SCS) is perhaps the most prominent manifestation of the Chinese government’s intention to reinforce legal, regulatory and policy processes through the application of information technology,” wrote Rogier Creemers of Leiden University – Van Vollenhoven Institute

in a White Paper titled “China’s Social Credit System: An Evolving Practice of Control.”

Opponents of the plan call it “Orwellian.” Even U.S. Vice President Mike Pence isn’t impressed, On Oct, 4 he described it as “an Orwellian system premised on controlling virtually every facet of human life.”  There are far-reaching implications of a lack of privacy as well as how safe and secure the data China collects, particularly financial data, will be.

Facial recognition will be one way China will track its citizens.

“Under the system, government agencies compile and share across departments, regions, and sectors, and with the public, data on compliance with specified industry or sectoral laws, regulations, and agreements by individuals, companies, social organizations, government departments, and the judiciary,” Foreign Policy reported.