Individuals who score poorly on China’s “social credit” system could lose access to planes and trains for up to one year, announced China’s National Development and Reform Commission on March 2nd.
The new restrictions, which begin May 1st, are the latest addition to a massive social engineering program that has already issued punishments and fines to more than 7 million citizens.
The social credit system, which is based on President Xi Jinping’s principle of “once untrustworthy, always restricted,” rates citizens based on things like “criminal behavior and financial misdeeds, but also on what they buy, say, and do,” reports The Verge.
Watching what people buy, say, and do is an easy task for the Chinese government considering it has access to the databases of Tencent, Alibaba, and (more recently) Apple’s iCloud.
Others behaviors that can harm your “social credit” score include:
- Causing “trouble” on a plane
- Using expired tickets
- Spreading false information about terrorism
- Smoking on a plane
- Issuing “insincere” apologies
- Parking your bike in a walkway
“Chinese government authorities clearly hope to create a reality in which bureaucratic pettiness could significantly limit people’s rights,” warns Human Rights Watch researcher Maya Wang.
News of the expanding “social credit” system follows a significant legislative overhaul that gives the Communist Party control over key government functions and doubles the number of people subject to the Party’s policing efforts. Chinese lawmakers also voted to abolish presidential term limits, which effectively confirmed Xi Jinping as President for life.
Editor’s note: The ability of the government to punish the slightest crime is the hallmark of the most oppressive of governments. The old Soviet Union was oppressive enough that anyone could be punished for any reason. The Chinese will be able to do this with the efficiency of modern technology.