By Theodore Shoebat
Millions of Chinese citizens have been blocked by their government from traveling, due to China’s despotic “social credit” system. Millions have been prevented from purchasing plane and train tickets on account of unpaid taxes or other violations, making for a sort of modern caste system. As we read in a report from CBC:
Millions of people were blocked from buying airline tickets or booking train journeys in China last year after being blacklisted under the country’s controversial “social credit” system.
The National Public Credit Information Center revealed in its annual report that people with low scores had been blocked from buying airline tickets 17.5 million times in 2018, according to the Associated Press.
People were barred from buying train tickets 5.5 million times, and 128 people were blocked from leaving the country due to unpaid taxes, the report said. Additionally, there were 290,000 instances where a person’s low score stopped them from getting a senior management job or acting as a company’s legal representative.
“If you’re on one of these blacklists, you are barred from buying luxury goods on some of China’s online shopping platforms, you can’t buy a plane ticket, you can’t get a mortgage,” said Nathan Vanderklippe, the Globe and Mail’s Asia correspondent.
There have even been some cases of the government forcefully changing the ringtones of blacklisted citizens, so instead of a phone ringing, the caller gets a message that their friend has been put on the list. The idea of a social credit system in China goes back to the 1990s, but it has been seriously experimented since 2014. Citizens can get bad social credit for things ranging from breaking the law to walking a dog without a leash. Currently, this system is only being imposed in certain areas of China under local governments. But, China wants this system imposed totally by 2020. With a low social credit, people will have difficult getting jobs, shopping and traveling. Human Rights Watch has affirmed that the system is there to “create a reality in which bureaucratic pettiness could significantly limit people’s rights”.
Why would they block traveling? One could argue that it would be to keep criminals from running away, and in that specific context this way of surveillance would be helpful. But, governments do not do things just to stop criminals, but to control societies for financial and power purposes. Governments can use the presence of criminals to justify the persecution of innocent people. Also, lets not forget that this is China, a country that is still under a Communist government which in the past murdered tens of millions of its own citizens. This government has a horrendous record that should not allow one to be credulous to this idea of “social credit.”
Imagine if such a system came to the West. People would be getting bad social credit for buy cigarettes; they would be accused of spreading cancer and raising a family in an unhealthy environment. With a bad social credit, people will have difficult finding employment, they would thus not be able to provide for their families, creating more social incohesion. Such people would then be accused of being “leaches” and then persecuted.
Such systems cannot be accepted without caution, and people have every right not to trust this sort of apparatus.