Millions prevented from travel due to ‘social credit’ offenses in China


Uwe Aranas - Wikimedia Commons

Dalian International Airport, such as several other airports in China have imposed restrictions on travelers with “social credit” offenses. Millions were barred from traveling last year.

by Arushi Saxena, Global Editor

Chinese travelers were barred from traveling 17.5 million times last year due to minor legal infractions such as unpaid fines and taxes according to the National Public Credit Information Center. 5.5 million were barred from train ticket purchases as well, complementary to a new policy being pushed by the country’s Communist Party in order to enforce laws and improve behavior.

As Chinese President Xi Jinping looks to combat counterfeit and fraudulent goods sold in abundance and constantly plaguing the country’s markets, his party says that enforcing consequences against bad ‘social behavior’ will help provide stability to social structures and society.

Citizens in the country can be punished for a variety of offenses, from false advertising to walking pets without leashes. Several human rights activists have voiced concerns about the retribution imposed on citizens for their violations, citing them as rigid and controlling.

The “social credit” system has been enforced since 2014, all across China. Jinping’s administration is currently pushing for a nationwide system by 2020, but is still outlining the regulations.

Last October, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence criticized the system as an “Orwellian system premised on controlling virtually every facet of human life.”

Currently, Chinese companies are placed on a blacklist for violating “social credit” policies, where possible punishments include bans on traveling or loss of access to bank loans and imports. Chinese state media has often repeated that “Once [companies] lose trust, [they] will face restrictions everywhere.”

Since the implementation of this plan, 3.5 million have made reparations for breaching the system’s laws. A total of 150 million yuan (22 million dollars) have been paid as well.