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China’s government has begun to implement a system that ranks its population with a score based on their ‘social credit’.

The Chinese social credit score is similar to a financial credit score – it moves up or down depending on the behavior of the person being scored. The program is already being piloted for millions of Chinese citizens, and China’s government hopes the system will be in place for all of its citizens by 2020.  The program was first announced in 2014.  According to a government document, the system is meant to support the national ideal that “keeping trust is glorious and breaking trust is disgraceful.”

Any number of actions can impact a person’s social credit score in China’s program like trying to ride a train without a ticket, smoking in a non-smoking area, lingering in public spaces without explanation.  Those are all reasons someone’s social score might be lowered, and they may seem reasonable – but there are other reasons that seem more troubling.

Whether someone buys unnecessary items, the amount of time they spend playing video games, what they post on social media, and if they spread what the government deems to be fake news are also sources of social score point reductions.

If you’re not already familiar with the Chinese Government’s definition of ‘fake news’, Google ‘China Government Tiananmen Square State News’, find a reliable source to learn from, and read an article or two about it.  Then, think about their social scoring system again. (Spoiler Alert: If the Chinese government doesn’t like a story, they just delete it and can arrest the person who wrote it)

Refusing military service can also have a negative effect on your score.

If someone happens to get a bad social credit score, they could face barriers such as restricted travel. Meaning if your score is low enough you could be prevented from buying domestic flight tickets and business-class train tickets. You could also be barred from enrolling in higher education, unable to continue your studies and may not be able to enroll your kids in private schools.

Think about that: If you’re a straight A student that plays a lot of video games, you could be barred from enrolling in higher education because of how much you enjoy gaming – despite your good grades!

Having a good social credit score can also provide rewards like speeding up travel applications, receiving discounts on energy bills and even getting more matches on dating websites! Some citizens in China claim that the system has already made people’s behaviors improve.



1)  If a system like China’s ‘social credit score’ program were to be implemented in America by the US Government, how would the program violate or not violate American citizen’s constitutional rights?  

2) Constitutional rights aside, why would you want to live or not live in a country with a social scoring system?  

3)  If you were forced to live in a country with a social scoring system, what protections would you put in place to make sure everyone was treated fairly by the system?  For example: If someone proposed points should be awarded to people that participating in sports, would that be fair to a quadriplegic? Should quadriplegics get bonus points? Is that fair for people that just don’t like sports?   This sounds challenging, but in the context of the questions above, pretend that somehow the system could be made to be fair: what are the first 3 steps you would take?

Be sure to provide full explanations for each of your answers. For more details, you can read the article this piece was sourced from here:
http://www.businessinsider.com/china-social-credit-system-punishments-and-rewards-explained-2018-4 and here: www.wired.co.uk/article/china-social-credit


Contributed by- J. Plummer

Big Brother, Big Brother is Watching you, China, Civics Education, Civics Is Fun, credit, credit score, Law Related Education, legal questions, LRE, PBtR, Play By the Rules, Social Media, Social Media Shenanigans, Social Media Spying, Social Score, Spying,

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