Beijing rolls out social credit system

Photo: IC

Beijing's municipal government has announced that it will adopt a social credit system by 2020 that assigns personalized ratings for all permanent residents based on their behavior, state-run Xinhua news agency reported last week.

Under the system, those with better social credit will get green channel benefits while those who are suspected of violating laws will be unable to participate in many areas, according to Xinhua.

Meanwhile, the Chinese capital will improve its blacklist system, and publish the default records of individuals and companies regularly so that they will be "unable to move even a single step," Xinhua cited Beijing' development and reform commission as saying.

"This is a significant approach by Beijing to assess individuals' credit, and tie it to their whole life," an unnamed official said, adding that "the plan should serve as an example to other Chinese cities on how to improve the behavior of individuals and companies," according to Xinhua.

"The system, which is based on the principle of 'once untrustworthy, always restricted', will encourage government agencies to share more information about individual and company misdeeds in order to coordinate rewards and punishments," Xinhua noted.

Beijing is not the only city in China to introduce social credit system.

Earlier this year, Hangzhou, capital of East China's Zhejiang Province, adopted the system to regulate its citizens' actions.

According to the local government, pro-social behavior like donating blood and doing charity work will be rewarded, and those who break traffic laws and charge under-the-table fees will be punished.

A system for penalizing individuals blacklisted for such offences as failing to pay court-mandated fines was extended nationwide in March.

The punishments include banning them from travelling by air or high-speed train for up to a year.

The system's rollout has captured widespread attention, sparking reactions at home and abroad.

Supporters say Beijing's latest move can help tackle social problems like fraud and food safety, while critics argued that it will further heighten the party's control over the society.


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