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China’s capital gears up to surveil, rate all residents’ behavior by 2020

Lisa Bourne Lisa Bourne Follow Lisa

BEIJING, China, November 28, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Chinese government’s plan to monitor and rank its one billion-plus residents based on “social credit” looms. The capital city announced plans last week for a lifetime points system to rate the social behavior of each of the 22 million people living there.  

Beijing will compile data from numerous departments to either punish or reward its citizens based on their actions and reputations, Bloomberg reports, with the program set to be in place by the end of 2020.

The plan was posted November 19 on the Beijing municipal government’s website in a report dated July 18. 

The program intends for individuals with better social credit to get “green channel” benefits, whereas those who violate laws or commit other prescribed infractions will face obstacles in many normal activities.

Beijing’s plan is one of more than a dozen in other Chinese cities and part of a planned Chinese state social credit system. According to Bloomberg it is the most ambitious yet.

The plan will entail enhancement of blacklist systems so those determined to be untrustworthy will be “unable to move even a single step.”

The different municipal agencies will connect their databases to have a more in-depth view of each resident’s dealings across a range of services. The program will require agencies within tourism, business, and transit to work together.

The Zhejiang Province’s capital city of Hangzhou in East China implemented its personal credit system earlier this year, Bloomberg’s report said, rewarding “pro-social behaviors” like volunteer work and blood donations and punishing such things as violations of traffic law and those charging under-the-table fees. 

As of the end of May, people with bad social credit in China had been blocked from booking airline and high-speed train travel, according to the National Development and Reform Commission.

Business Insider reported late last month on China’s impending social credit system, first announced in 2014, and how it was affecting citizens. 

In addition to the millions of Chinese restricted from booking airline travel, three million people have been barred from getting business-class train tickets.

Residents of China may also find their Internet speeds stifled for social infractions. Among the things subject to scrutiny in the social credit system are the timely paying of bills, spending too much time playing video games, making frivolous purchases, social media posts and spreading fake news.

Seventeen people who refused to perform military service last year there were banned from enrolling in higher education, applying for high school or continuing their studies. People who declined military service were also banned from some holiday locations and hotels. 

In July, a Chinese university denied entry to an incoming student because his father had a bad social credit score. 

Management jobs in state-owned companies and big banks would be off-limits for those deemed to be "trust-breaking" individuals.

The city of Jinan in eastern China put a social credit score for dog owners in place in 2017, with points at risk if their dog is walked without a leash or caused trouble in public. Losing all of one’s points means losing one’s dog and being required to take a test on pet ownership regulations.  

Being publicly named as a bad citizen in China’s social credit system would get one on the blacklist, which companies are encouraged to consult prior to hiring people or awarding contracts.

Business Insider provided a link to a prototype blacklist already in use to punish people.

The report also included a video posted by freelance journalist James O'Malley on October 29, showing an announcement on a Beijing to Shanghai bullet train that warned passengers not to misbehave — or their "behavior will be recorded in individual credit information system."

The advance of the Chinese government’s social monitoring of its people comes amid ongoing controversy over the September 22 “provisional agreement” between the Vatican and Chinese regime on the appointment of bishops, largely regarded as destructive to the faithful underground Catholic Church in China.

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