Low ‘Social Credit’ Scores Are Preventing Chinese Citizens From Traveling, Getting Jobs

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By Mandy Froelich / Truth Theory

You don’t need to pick up a young adult fiction novel to read about a dystopian future in which citizens with low “social credit” scores are restricted from universal rights, such as access to education and the ability to travel. As Forbes reports, this is already occurring in China.

A newly-released report by China’s National Public Credit information reveals that in 2018, 18.5 million people were barred from buying airplane tickets and 5.5 million from traveling via train because they had low “social credit” scores. Another 290,000 people were prevented from getting a high-paying senior management job. Finally, 128 people couldn’t leave the country because they hadn’t yet paid their taxes. You can view a copy of the report here.

The social credit system was implemented in 2014. As Truth Theory previously reported, the system takes away points from people for minor offenses. For instance, if a citizen fails to pay a fine on time, their social credit score might drop.

The Chinese government considers the social credit score to be an effective means to reduce poor behavior. However, its allies, including the United States, have been critical of the system. The most common argument is that the social credit system infringes upon people’s rights, as well as gives the government too much control.

If a resident in China seeks to improve their score, they must pay off their fines. If they fail to do this, they may also lose access to education. 

At present, social credit systems continue to be tested across China. The government is in the planning phase of a national social credit system that covers every single citizen.

You might be cringing at the social credit system, but state media coverage in the country is touting the report’s findings. Must publications are circulating the system’s slogan, “once you lose trust, you will face restrictions everywhere,” reports the Associated Press. 

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IMAGE CREDIT: Watchara Karinta

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