Breaking Down the Reality of China’s Social Credit System

Written By Alla Levin
February 08, 2023

A Comprehensive Look at China’s Social Credit System: What You Need to Know

Janis Mackey Frayer from NBC News visited China to research China’s most controversial social credit system. Are you interested to know about it? Okay! Then it would be best if you stuck to this article. China’s social credit system is a system of surveillance in which every individual, company, or government organization is given social credit score based on overall behavior and output.

So, without further details, let’s check out China’s social credit system in depth below!

What is the Social Credit System of China?

Well! China’s social credit system is based on about 200 million surveillance cameras. And you will be amazed to know that half of the world’s surveillance cameras are found nowhere but in China. According to China’s most controversial social credit system, every individual, company, and even government institute is given a ranking or score to evaluate the overall reputation in society.

And that particular score becomes the ultimate recognition of that person or organization. The system works very efficiently with strictness. And the astonishing thing is that most Chinese people are okay with this monitoring because they believe it is for their goodness.

Why China Started this Social Credit System and How it WorksWhy China Started this Social Credit System

Well! China was one of the poorest countries. And it started this social credit system to build trustworthiness and to make the whole system cleaner. According to this system, a person with a good social credit score will be rewarded in several ways. He will be able to have more opportunities in every field. And they will get more benefits too.

On the other hand, if a person has a bad social credit score, he will be firstly given advice. Officials of the social credit system will help him too. But eventually, if the person is not getting good scores, he will be added to the blacklist. And things become so much worse for the people on the blacklist. They can’t even get train or plane tickets, and can’t book a room in a hotel; in short, no luxuries or respect.

On What Factors a Person is Being Evaluated in China’s Social Credit System

The list is quite long. So many factors are being considered in evaluating an individual or organization’s social credit score. But the most important of those factors is evaluating clothing, behavior, discipline, habits, and overall lifestyle. If a person is adopting good practices and doing good deeds, his score will automatically rise; on the other hand, it will decrease.

If a person is littering, tossing, drinking too much alcohol, or misbehaving with people, his social credit score will decrease. On the other hand, if a person is well disciplined, has no fraud, no violence, practicing good deeds, his social credit score will rise. And he will be able to get more benefits from the state like more job offers, discounts, etc., so the lives of Chinese people entirely depend on it.

  • In China, people are under surveillance 24/7.
  • There are more than 200 million surveillance cameras.
  • Factors involve whether people are behaving perfectly or not.
  • How much alcohol is one consuming?
  • What sort of dress are they wearing?
  • Whether they are littering or not.
  • Whether they violent or good?
  • What is their overall behavior?
  • And the list goes on.

What do the People of China Say About this Social Credit System?Why China Started this Social Credit System

A 21-year-old Chinese girl interviewed by Mackey has an excellent social score and is living her life gracefully. She works in a private firm, and her rating is 752, which is a good number. She is one of the model citizens enjoying great opportunities and discounts too. She shows her social credit score and gets a lot of advantages. According to her, this system is like a warning or alert and is mandatory.

On the other hand, a man is on the blacklist because he does not have a good social credit score. According to him, he can’t even buy airplane or train tickets, and he can’t book a room in a hotel. Moreover, he can’t get his kids admission to a good school. Whenever he tries, a message pops up and says, “You are discredited.” So, life in China is not easy for him.

Mackey also met an information collector in the social credit system department. That lady told Mackey about the ins and outs and how it works. She is like a paid enforcer who writes what’s happening around her. If a person has just carried a drunk person, then his social credit score will increase. Her quota is for ten months, and she admires her job.

Role of Surveillance Cameras in China and their Advanced Features

Mackey also visited the social credit organization, where she learned about the cameras. One of the in-house managers told Mackey that the cameras are getting smarter every day. These cameras are so intelligent that they even recognize Mackey as a middle-aged woman with glasses and identify the face shape. And these cameras contribute massively to the recognition of one’s credit score.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is social credit system is the base of Chinese law and order. And Chinese people are now habitual of being supervised 24/7. They believe that this system allows them to live according to the rules. People are responsible for their actions and will be rewarded or punished accordingly.

There are many ways people get inspiration from this social credit system. If a person has a good social credit score, his picture will be shown on a poster. Almost every action is recorded to create the overall profile. And it is entirely up to the people who want to live in China.

If they behave well, they will be rewarded, given discounts, offered good jobs, and much more. And if they misbehave, they will not even be able to buy a ticket, book a room, or admit a kid to any good school. Their reputation will be questioned. And all these things will push them to adopt good behavior. Hopefully, this article will help you internalize the ins and outs of China’s social credit system!

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