Millions of Chinese citizens have been blocked from different activities like booking flights or trains as Beijing introduced Black Mirror style ‘social credit system’, allowing the government to closely monitor and judge each of its 1.3 billion citizens based on their behavior and activities.
The social ranking system is set to be adopted in 2021, Bloomberg reported recently, with residents to be judged on data based on their social standing by the end of 2020. The program would essentially mark any ‘untrustworthy’ individuals found to have violated laws or social codes and restrict their access to certain services like travel or certain programs, according to a plan published by the government this week.
The country’s latest five year plan stated: “We will improve the credit blacklist system, publicly disclose the records of enterprises and individuals’ untrustworthiness on a regular basis, and form a pattern of distrust and punishment.”
For those deemed untrustworthy, “everywhere is limited, and it is difficult to move, so that those who violate the law and lose the trust will pay a heavy price”.
According to the state-run news outlet Global Times, as of May this year, the government had blocked 11.14 million people from flights and 4.25 million from taking high-speed train trips.
People are awarded credit points for things such as volunteer work or blood donations. Those with low social credibility scores will be blacklisted and punished. Other infractions reportedly include smoking in non-smoking zones, buying too many video games and posting fake news online.
China is building a powerful and all-seeing surveillance state. Unlike Black Mirror's slick and colorful version of the nightmare rating system, the government is investing in high-tech facial recognition cameras that follow citizens wherever they go. Facial recognition algorithms match video footage of people’s faces will be compared to photos stored in a national ID database.
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