China banned millions of people with bad ‘social credit’ from trains

Brittany A. Roston - Mar 1, 2019, 7:11 pm CDT
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China banned millions of people with bad ‘social credit’ from trains

China’s dystopian ‘social credit’ system has resulted in millions of people being banned from public transportation. According to the National Public Credit Information Center, China blocked the attempted purchase of train tickets and, in some cases, attempts to travel outside of the country due to low ‘social credit,’ which can result from back taxes and unpaid fines, among other things.

READ: China ‘deadbeat debtors’ app turns citizens into snitches

China first introduced elements of its ‘social credit’ in 2014, more recently expanding it to additional areas and people. The system is designed to slap people with rewards and penalties based on perceived good and bad behavior, with some of those penalties being issued for things as small as failing to pay a fine or put a dog on a leash.

According to a new report from Associated Press, China blocked 5.5 million attempts to purchase train tickets in 2018, the reason for each being poor social credit. In addition, 128 people were barred from traveling outside of China over unpaid taxes, and 17.5 million attempts to buy plane tickets were blocked due to various issues related to one’s social credit.

The nation’s Communist Party has implemented the restrictions and overall social credit system in an effort to modify social behaviors. The attempt is part of a wider draconian move toward controlling people using a variety of technologies, including facial recognition tech, clothing with built-in trackers, cameras embedded in public housing, and more.

China has attempted to crowdsource at least part of its enforcement efforts by launching a mobile app that shows the public when someone near them is a ‘deadbeat debtor.’ The app encourages users to report one of these people if it appears they are purchasing items they can’t afford or spending money they shouldn’t have.


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