China To Launch "Social Credit System" To Monitor Everything From Jaywalking To Internet Shopping Activity

Tyler Durden's picture

In the United States "big data" is a major trend that has been adopted by almost every major retailer in an effort to figure out the precise best way to convince American's to buy more stuff they don't need.  In China, "big data" is all about population control.

As noted by the Wall Street Journal, various cities throughout China are currently piloting a "social-credit system" that will assign a "personal citizen score" to every single person based on behavior such as spending habits, turnstile violations and filial piety, which can blacklist citizens from loans, jobs, air travel. 

Hangzhou’s local government is piloting a “social credit” system the Communist Party has said it wants to roll out nationwide by 2020, a digital reboot of the methods of social control the regime uses to avert threats to its legitimacy.


More than three dozen local governments across China are beginning to compile digital records of social and financial behavior to rate creditworthiness. A person can incur black marks for infractions such as fare cheating, jaywalking and violating family-planning rules. The effort echoes the dang’an, a system of dossiers the Communist party keeps on urban workers’ behavior.


In time, Beijing expects to draw on bigger, combined data pools, including a person’s internet activity, according to interviews with some architects of the system and a review of government documents. Algorithms would use a range of data to calculate a citizen’s rating, which would then be used to determine all manner of activities, such as who gets loans, or faster treatment at government offices or access to luxury hotels.

Input data for the social credit system would come from a variety of government sources but would also incorporate social behavior based on things like volunteer activities, academic records, social media usage and online shopping trends.

For initial social-credit efforts, local officials are relying on information collected by government departments, such as court records and loan and tax data. More-extensive logging of everyday habits, such as social-media use and online shopping, lies with China’s internet companies, including e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.


A credit-scoring service by Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial Services—one of eight companies approved to pilot commercial experiments with social-credit scoring—assigns ratings based on information such as when customers shop online, what they buy and what phone they use. If users opt in, the score can also consider education levels and legal records. Perks in the past for getting high marks have included express security screening at the Beijing airport, part of an Ant agreement with the airport.


“Especially for young people, your online behavior goes towards building up your online credit profile,” said Joe Tsai, Alibaba’s executive vice chairman, “and we want people to be aware of that so they know to behave themselves better.”

China Watching


Of course, if it wasn't clear, the objective of the "social credit system", at least according to slogans printed in planning docs is to "“allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step.”  Seems fairly reasonable...though we suspect there may be some issues surrounding who defines "discredited"...but we're sure it will be fine.

The endeavor reinforces President Xi Jinping’s campaign to tighten his grip on the country and dictate morality at a time of economic uncertainty that threatens to undermine the party. Mr. Xi in October called for innovation in “social governance” that would “heighten the capacity to forecast and prevent all manner of risks.”


The national social-credit system’s aim, according to a slogan repeated in planning documents, is to “allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step.”


Zan Aizong, a Hangzhou human-rights activist, sees the system, once it’s fully operational, as an Orwellian exercise to keep closer tabs on a populace already lacking basic liberties such as freedom of speech. “Tracking everyone that way,” Mr. Zan said, “it’s just like ‘1984.’ ”

Luckily, a "blacklisting system" has already been created that can seamlessly be tied right into the social credit system.  The system is designed to automatically provide "green lanes" for faster access to government services for "well-behaved" citizens while levying travel bans and other punishments on those who get out of line. 

China’s judiciary has already created a blacklisting system that would tie into the national social-credit operation. Zhuang Daohe, a Hangzhou legal scholar, cites the example of a client, part-owner of a travel company, who now can’t buy tickets for planes or high-speed trains because a Hangzhou court put him on a blacklist after he lost a dispute with a landlord.


“This has had a huge impact on the business,” said the client’s wife. “He can’t travel with clients anymore.” Added Mr. Zhuang: “What happens when it punishes the wrong person?”


Blacklists will expose offenders and restrict them from certain activities, while well-behaved citizens will earn access to “green lanes” that provide faster government services, the blueprint said. Citizens in jobs deemed sensitive—lawyers, accountants, teachers, journalists—will be subject to enhanced scrutiny, it said.

Penalties for low scorers will include higher barriers to obtaining loans and bans on indulgences such as luxury hotels, according to state-media reports.

But we're thankful to be living right here in the U.S. where those with dissenting opinions are simply labelled as "useful idiots of Putin" and subjected to an all-out smear campaign by a corrupt mainstream media.

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stinkhammer's picture

badges, we don't need no stinkin' badges

Pinto Currency's picture

Guess the 1.5 million human organs taken from prisoners were from people who ran out of social credit:

evoila's picture

they need to do whatever the japanese did. 

The Saint's picture
The Saint (not verified) evoila Nov 29, 2016 8:27 PM

That sounds like something Obama and Hillary would have liked to start doing here.  Thank God they are OUT of power.


nmewn's picture

It would be odd to ask the government for permission to just up and move to say, Georgia or Idaho.

w a l k - a w a y's picture

Social Credit System at Gaian Corps

With (2) videos that  explore some of the negative implications of a system like the Social Credit System.

SMG's picture

This is so f*king evil.   Feudalism reborn.  Can we see the Elite's score? Becasue I have a feeling it would probably be a negative number.

techpriest's picture

In so many words - don't put WeChat on your phone. Or, have a WeChat phone and a real phone if you live over there.

rccalhoun's picture

shit, why didnt the USSA think of this first?

StackShinyStuff's picture

Sounds like an episode of Black Mirror

quartshort's picture

Season 3 episode 1 "Nosedive" watch it. Creepy as hell and coming soon. It is the only show I made my 10 yr old daughter watch. But not before a talk about what the lesson is and to expect bad language.

booboo's picture

Under such rules the main stream media would be confined to their beds, ass up with a "I'm With Her" sticker on their ass

underman's picture

-100 pts for being member of fake news site(s).

Cognitive Dissonance's picture


And "We the People" are worried about 1984?

Normalcy Bias's picture

This is inevitably coming to the US. The Elites want this total control grid for the masses, but they'll of course, be exempt.

Uzda Farce's picture
Uzda Farce (not verified) Normalcy Bias Nov 29, 2016 8:58 PM

"One is impressed immediately by the sense of national harmony... Whatever the price of the Chinese Revolution it has obviously fostering high morale and community purpose... The social experiment in China under Chairman Mao's leadership is one of the most important and successful in history."

-- David Rockefeller, CFR Chairman, New York Times, 10-Aug-1973

hedgeless_horseman's picture

Thank you for remembering.


"Donkeys live a very long time."

r0mulus's picture

What this ought to be is the moral basis for re-nationalizing every bit of anything we ever outsourced to China and preventing them from competing on an even economic playing field with a nation of truly freedom loving people, ever again.

YHC-FTSE's picture

We already have that here. It's called "Experian".

This is credit rating on steroids, but don't be surprised if these variables are already factored in by different big data companies (Medicine, banking, utilities, internet ISPs, education and social media).

EmployedMillenial's picture

Hey PRC, stop watching Black Mirror.

SgtShaftoe's picture

If you can, look up the BBC series called Blackmirror.  They did an episode regarding exactly this.  The thing is: they don't see the unintended consequence.  Namely, when you leave people with nothing to lose they will crack.  I expect many Chinese who get put on the naughty list to lose it.  They're also smart enough to target for the maximum impact.  I expect many Chinese executives, government leaders and other high-power people will die at the hands of these outcasts.  It's an easy cause:effect outcome. 

peddling-fiction's picture

I am already one of these outcasts, but in (and from) the Western world.

SgtShaftoe's picture

I've been thinking that I need to start a game show called "What could possibly go wrong?!?!".  If it isn't an absolute hit, I think it should at least educate some of the idiots to basic logic. 

the_narrator's picture

I wonder if all the poor social credit people will band together and create their own informal institutions.

SgtShaftoe's picture

and death squads... Don't forget the death squads. 

Dr. Bonzo's picture

Note the "Travel Abroad" category. What many Americans take completely for granted, not being able to distinguish one Asian from another, let alone Chinese from Koreans from Japanese or Han Chinese from Hakka Chinese... or worse yet... your average mainlander from a commie party stalwart.... the overwhelming majority of mainland Chinese North Americans see are commie party scum.

Once this system kicks into high gear it's all but baked into the cake that the only mainlanders you'll ever see are the greatest dicksucks in commie China.

Peak Finance's picture


Dear Government Fucktards,


Life immitates bad art. 

Peak Finance's picture

LOL I made this reply before seeing the other black mirror posts.

small axe's picture

no chance this is an Onion special report?

I thought not

holy shit.


garcam123's picture

China in revolt...............deadly revolt in 1 year!

Pumpkin's picture

Demolition Man.

Pliskin's picture

Oooh, a big scary diagram by the WSJ along with the words 'This is how they might do it...'

What a croc.

Jaywalking, HA, guess the author has never been to China!

Fake News much?

Uzda Farce's picture
Uzda Farce (not verified) Pliskin Nov 29, 2016 9:03 PM

"The 'Sesame Credit' system is run by two companies, Alibaba and Tencent, which run all the social networks in China and therefore have access to a vast amount of data about people’s social ties and activities and what they say. In addition to measuring your ability to pay, as in the United States, the scores serve as a measure of political compliance.

Among the things that will hurt a citizen’s score are posting political opinions without prior permission, or posting information that the regime does not like... It will hurt your score not only if you do these things, but if any of your 'friends' do them.”

techpriest's picture

SesameCredit is a fraud. Unless it's a backdoor program, I do not know of any Chinese person who is using it.

WeChat, however, is kinda like its own Internet with all sorts of apps living on its platform. My wife is developing an app for it. Of course, since incredible amounts of user data goes through WeChat, it means that the underlying company + the Chinese government can watch all of it.

Uzda Farce's picture
Uzda Farce (not verified) techpriest Nov 29, 2016 9:49 PM

TenCent also owns WeChat, and the trend is obvious. Here's a video which explains how the Sesame Credit game works:

Sub MOA's picture

yeah whatever in murikastan it's called a credit rating/score   lalalala  face it dummies your a number in a digital world of whirling fake numbers that you cling to like a tick on a dogs flea infested ass...move on nothing here to see


fear porn and fake news again  bleet bleet back to the flock shheeeeeeps

Shed Boy's picture

Correct. Jay walking, against the light is the norm here. This is just more WSJ propaganda to make America look good. All this is already going on in America now. Pretty much every article you read about China is written by some fat slob that has never been out of his own county, let alone come here to China to see things first hand. Having spent almost a year here now, I read very few articles written by American writers that have even the slightest clue about what is really going on here.

brushhog's picture

Ain't communism great?

Sizzurp's picture

As others have pointed out, it's totally backward. It should be the people grading government. The unintended consequences of this top down system of intimidation and terror will be far reaching.  Then again there are a few companies that probably operate this way, but at least they pay you for the abuse.

Abby Normal's picture

Just like Eric Schmidt of Google did for Hillary with the Voter Key program - combine all your socilal/internet information and use it for political purposes instead of marketing purposes....

Youri Carma's picture

Facebook builds censorship tool to attain China re-entry: NYT

Chinese government money backs buyout firm’s deal for U.S. chip maker

SgtShaftoe's picture

I think China and Japan are in the running for the first countries to go completely pear shaped and blow up.  It's just a guess, but the Chinese regime seems to be stretching very thin.  They are playing with complex social forces that they have no idea how to really control.  That monster will most assuredly rip the leadership's head clean off spraying blood everywhere when it happens of course. 

HRH of Aquitaine's picture
HRH of Aquitaine (not verified) Nov 29, 2016 9:19 PM

In other words, the "trustworthy" are those that toe the goverment line (or don't get caught not toeing it).


The_Prisoner's picture

Black Mirror episode 1 of season 3 shows the consequences of such a ranking system writ large.


Lorca's Novena's picture

are you referring to a teevee show? jesus christ i thought we went over this DONT FUCKING WATCH TEEVEE!!

DYS's picture

It's a Netflix series, similar to twilight zone, which shows a dystopian technological future society. I recommend it. Totally red pulled and based.