An ambitious initiative in experimentation since 2014 in China. What we call Chinese social credit (shehui xinyong tixi or 社会信用体系) receives significant attention by international medias. Its purpose ? Create a database that tracks citizens, corporate and public administration’s behaviour in real time across the country. A science fiction scenario which inspired films and series, such as Black Mirror (Season 3 Episode 1).
However, that digital governance seems to improve adherence to existing rules, laws and government decisions by building greater transparency. Let’s have a look :
HOW DOES THE CHINESE CREDIT SYSTEM WORK ?
First, Chinese social credit (CSC) provides a “points capital” accorded by the State to citizens and legal entities (companies, institutions). It can be improved or damaged, depending on the behaviour of the entity. With 1000 points at the beginning, scores are then classified :
- AAA (more than 1050 points): exemplary citizen
- AA (between 1030 and 1049 points): excellent citizen
- A (between 960 and 1029 points): honest citizen
- B (between 850 and 959): relatively honest
- C (between 600 and 849): warning level
- D (549 and under): dishonesty
Then, the grade will evolve positively or negatively over time and will result in a series of rewards or punishments. For example, a good score may be rewarded with bonuses at the end of the month, tax breaks, cheaper public transport or services, free gym facilities and access to library. How to get it? By taking part in blood donations, volunteering, taking care of elderly and other collective wealth’s actions.
Thus, below A grade sanctions start being applicable. It is obtained by too many incivilities, such as exceeding the speed limit, running a red light or illegally protesting against the authorities. A good citizen therefore enjoys privileges, while the less good takes the risk of being treated as a “second-class” citizen.
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