Shocking! China's rating system blocks millions from flights and trains
China's controversial social rating system, which is still in the process of a nationwide roll-out, has banned millions of people from using public transportation services. According to a recent Associated Press report, the system, aimed at improving public behavior, is imposing transport restrictions and others punishments on people who fail to maintain a high 'social credit score'. Here's more on this dystopian practice.
Since 2014, China has been implementing a unified social credit system under which citizens are monitored and classified as 'trustworthy' or 'untrustworthy' on the basis of their behavior. The government maintains data on people using AI and biometric recognition and then uses that information for classification. The trustworthy ones get credit rewards, while the untrustworthy ones face a varying degree of punishments.
The system's countrywide roll-out is planned for 2020, but its initial impact has already raised alarms. According to a government document cited by AP, China has already banned people from booking high-speed train tickets as many as 23 million times last year. All these people had a low social credit score due to offenses which the government deemed as behavioral crimes.
Notably, a person can land a low social credit score for a plethora of reasons, including things like not paying fines/taxes, violating traffic laws, seeking bribes, smoking in non-smoking areas, buying too many games, sharing fake news, or even walking a dog without a leash.
Along with restricted transportation, the AP report noted the government had even barred more than a hundred 'low-rated' people to leave the country last year. Also, many were blocked from taking senior management positions in companies. Other possible punishments may include restrictions on securing bank loans, government contracts or things like slowing internet or lifetime ban from owning pets, opting good schools for children.
With this scoring and punishing system, the Chinese government plans to prevent annoying behavior, scams, and frauds in the society. The report cited AP emphasizes on this aspect, noting that the system has already caused 3.5 million people to "voluntarily fulfill their legal obligations". Plus, it said some 37 people paid a total of $22 million in overdue fines.