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“Unreliable citizens”: this is how technology is used to punish the population that bothers or disagrees with the Government

Chinese social credit system


China’s social credit system is possible thanks to a combination of technologies such as Big Data, video surveillance and the constant monitoring and censorship of the Internet in the country.

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China uses the social credit system as a form of crowd control
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It is a perverse, ambiguous, and largely random system that has been made possible by the combination of Big Data, cameras with facial recognition, Internet monitoring, and social media. A mechanism to control the lives of 1.4 billion people, despite the fact that many of them are unaware of their existence or that the rules are applied differently depending on the province in which they are located. Your goal is punish citizens who the state has classified as “unreliable”.

Citizens “unreliable” for the Chinese state are those with debts, the unbelievers or simply those who the regime considers to have spread false information on the Internet or social networks. A series of behaviors that, although in many cases are not classified as criminal offenses, are considered “a disgrace” by the State and deserving of punishment. Even reaching punishing ambiguous behavior such as “offering insincere apologies”.

One of those people fallen into “disgrace” in the eyes of the Chinese State is He’s uncle. His story is told in the book The Hidden Face of China, written by Isidre Ambrs.

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He is a young university student from Beijing who discovered the social credit system when her uncle was taking longer than expected to reach the New year’s celebration at the family home. A relatively easy trip from a nearby city connected by a high-speed train.

However, his uncle had a financial debt that he had not been able to cope with. This meant that the Chinese government hung him the sanbenito from “unreliable” making you one of the 6 million Chinese who cannot ride high-speed trains.

In addition to the 6 million people punished without being able to travel on high-speed trains, there are 27 million Chinese who are prohibited from riding in airplanes because of the social credit system.

Other punishments for “unreliable” citizens that Ambrs collects in his book are restrictions to access certain entertainment venues, slower internet connections or impediments to accessing a job because they do not call you in interviews.

“The card for points that the Chinese government has promoted, some time ago, joins the range of tools promoted by the country’s president, Xi Jinping, to punish the uncouth behavior of many Chinese, who may be tempted to drive without a license or stop paying their debts. The problem is that this initiative, applicable for a period of time, can lead to a social division between good and bad citizens in a country full of envy, “Ambros tells PIXEL.

In his book, the author uses the metaphor of the carrot and the stick to refer to the logic that uses this system. The carrot would be found in that those citizens who carry out volunteer work or do extra work at the university will have a positive score that will help them to call them in interviews and get a good job.

In addition to the controversial social credit system The Hidden Face of China has 61 eye-catching stories ranging from the use of rap music for propaganda purposes by the government to the war on toilet paper thieves. Some elaborate stories after a extensive experience of more than 10 years in the Asian giant by the author.

According to the criteria of

The Trust Project

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