China Has a New Social Credit System That Ranks and Rewards or Punishes Citizens
The Chinese government introduced a new ranking system that punishes or rewards citizens for all personal behaviors, Business Insider reports. The social credit system was first introduced in 2014, but it is expected to fully kick off by 2020. All Chinese citizens must be enrolled in the program, which is currently being trialed on millions of Chinese people at the moment.
Just as credit card users are rated on their financial behaviors, the “social credit” program will monitor how everyone behaves in China and then reward or punish them accordingly. The overall objective of the behavior-rewarding scheme is to “reward trust” and “punish misdemeanors.” Just like the credit ratings of any individual, the social credit rating of anyone can go up or down based on their activities.
Social Offenses That Will Attract Punishments
Some of the social misdemeanors and offenses for which anyone could be punished include –
- Bad driving
- Smoking in prohibited zones
- Purchasing too many video games
- Wasting too much time on frivolous things or making frivolous expenses
- Posting fake news or silly content online
- Failing to settle debts or pay bills on time
- Riding on the bus or train without obtaining required tickets
- Loitering at boarding gates and in other restricted zones
- Fraud and embezzlement among other crimes
Punishments for Social Offenders
Some of the ways offenders could be punished for social offenses include the following –
- Travel restrictions from air flights or using the train
- Throttling or limiting your internet speeds
- Getting banned from quality schools
- Prohibition from obtaining top jobs in government-owned establishments
- Ban from using the best hotels
- Being publicly blacklisted as a bad citizen
Potential Advantages of Being a Good Citizen in China
Benefits of obtaining high credit rating for good practices in all aspects of life are –
- Citizens rated as good, will obtain better partner matches on dating sites
- Good citizens will enjoy higher discounts on energy bills
- They will obtain better interest rates when borrowing from banks
- They can rent houses, cars, and other properties without initial deposits
A number of Chinese nationals say the social ranking system has helped them to evolve into more conscious and mindful people. They report their behaviors have gotten better since they now stop at crosswalks and carry out other civic responsibilities with a positive mindset.
A 32-year-old entrepreneur, named Chen, told Foreign Policy: “I feel like in the past six months, people’s behaviour has gotten better and better.”
“For example, when we drive, now we always stop in front of crosswalks. If you don’t stop, you will lose your points.
“At first, we just worried about losing points, but now we got used to it.”