China’s Social Credit System: A Dystopian Reality

In a world where technology has become intertwined with every aspect of our lives, the concept of a “social credit system” may seem like a natural evolution of the digital age.

However, as shown in China it is quickly becoming clear that it is not a step forward for society, but rather a step towards a dystopian future.

The Chinese government introduced the social credit system in 2014 to promote “trustworthiness” among citizens.

The system operates by assigning each citizen a score based on their behavior, which is then used to determine their eligibility for a wide range of activities, such as obtaining a loan or even getting a job.

All in all, there is not one unified national system rather each local government has its own social records. The score is calculated based on several factors, including online behavior, purchasing habits, and traffic violations to name a few.

The government has access to this information and can use it to penalize individuals who do not adhere to the country’s strict social norms. Sadly, the consequences of a low score can be quite severe.

For instance, in the city of Rongcheng, all citizens are given a score of 1,000 to start. Deductions are then taken for bad behavior like traffic violations or not paying loans.

Citizens who have been deemed untrustworthy by the system can be banned from certain forms of transportation, such as trains and planes, and can even be denied access to certain amenities, such as hotels.

As of June 2019, 27 million airline tickets and 6 million train tickets have been denied to people on China’s blacklists. Yeah I know it’s pretty bleak.

Additionally, their children may not be allowed to attend certain schools, and their ability to get a job may be severely restricted. When it comes to businesses they often suffer from increased auditing and inspections.

If that wasn’t bad enough, the social credit system is also not just about monitoring citizens and punishing them for deviant behavior.

Ultimately it is a great tool of control, allowing the government to maintain a tight grip on society by limiting the ability of citizens to freely express their opinions and engage in dissent.

This is particularly concerning given the Chinese government’s history. It’s also worth mentioning, the social credit system is also rife with errors, with many citizens reporting incorrect information being associated with their scores.

This can result in individuals being penalized unfairly, without any means of appeal.

The lack of transparency and accountability in the system only serves to exacerbate this problem, leaving citizens with no way to contest their scores or the information used to calculate them.

Not to mention, the system raises serious privacy concerns, as the government has access to an enormous amount of personal data on its citizens.

This data can be used for nefarious purposes, such as political repression, or even sold to third parties for profit. After all, the government has a history of using technology to monitor its citizens, and the social credit system only serves to enhance its ability to do so.

The social credit system is not just a problem for China, it has implications for the rest of the world as well. As the Chinese economy continues to grow, its influence on the global stage will only increase, bringing the threat of its dystopian vision of society with it.

Companies and governments around the world will be forced to grapple with the ethical implications of doing business with a country that uses a system like this, and the damage to global human rights norms could be devastating.

If you want to view this article in a more visual format then please check out my video below:


In conclusion, China’s social credit system is a disturbing example of the dystopian future that technology can bring about.

It represents a world where our behavior is constantly monitored and controlled by the government, where dissent is suppressed and individual freedom is a thing of the past.

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