Social credit system/China

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Concept.png Social credit system/China 
(surveillance technology,  social control)Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
A system of reward and punishment mechanisms for the Chinese government to control its citizens.

The Chinese Government operates a reward and punishment mechanism to thought control its citizens. The system is based on data collection (motion tracking), surveillance and combination of 70 databases (including social media), leading to a final score, which resembles Facebook likes. Except, if nobody 'likes' you, you won't be able to fly, ride a train and you pay higher taxes.[1]

The indirect and covert aggression used here against its citizens is ostracism aka social exclusion. It is particularly vicious, increases counter-aggression with a high risk of acting out, lowers self-esteem, producing a state of cognitive deconstruction, marked by flat affect, and similar to that found in the presuicidal state.[2]


The reporting of the Chinese system suffers from the usual problems, where things like geopolitical rivalry and mistranslations contribute to not giving a full picture.

  • In July 2019, Wired reported that there existed misconceptions regarding the Social Credit System of China. It argued that "Western concerns about what could happen with China’s Social Credit System have in some ways outstripped discussions about what's already really occurring...The exaggerated portrayals may also help to downplay surveillance efforts in other parts of the world." The rise of misconception, according to Jeremy Daum of Yale University, is contributed by translation errors, the difference in word usage, and so on.[3]
  • In May 2019, Logic published an article by Shazeda Ahmed, who argued that "[f]oreign media has distorted the social credit system into a technological dystopia far removed from what is actually happening in China." She pointed out that common misconceptions included the beliefs that surveillance data is connected with a centralized database; that human activities online and offline are assigned with actual values that can be deducted, and that every citizen in China has a numerical score that is calculated by computer algorithm.[4]
  • In March and February, 2019, MIT Technology Review stated that, "[i]n the West, the system is highly controversial, and often portrayed as an AI-powered surveillance regime that violates human rights."[5] However, the magazine reported that "many scholars argue that social credit scores won’t have the wide-scale controlling effect presumed...the system acts more as a tool of propaganda than a tool of enforcement", and that "[o]thers point out that it is simply an extension of Chinese culture’s long tradition of promoting good moral behavior and that Chinese citizens have a completely different perspective on privacy and freedom."[6]
  • In November 2018, Foreign Policy listed some factors which contributed to the misconception of China's credit system. The potential factors included the scale and variety of the social credit system program and the difficulties of comprehensive reporting that comes with it.[7]
  • In May 2018, Rogier Creemers of Leiden University stated that despite the Chinese government's intentions of utilizing big data and artificial intelligence, the regulatory method of SCS remained relatively crude. His research concluded that it is "... perhaps more accurate to conceive of the SCS as an ecosystem of initiatives broadly sharing a similar underlying logic, than a fully unified and integrated machine for social control."[8]
  • In March 2021, The Diplomat remarks that the assumption of Social Credit System being an Orwellian surveillance system held by Western observers exaggerates the reality and purpose of the system in real life. Despite the claim, the social credit system is "an extension of bond issuance risk assessment credit ratings introduced in China in the 1980s" and primarily serves the function of a financial risk assessment tool.[9]