In 2014, the Chinese government issued a document aimed at increasing the amount of ‘trust’ in society. Today this emerging system is known as China’s social credit system – like a credit score but tracking more than financial transactions. China’s central government wants to have the system in place across China by 2020, using a range of information — including shopping habits, driving fines and even what’s written on social media — to rate and rank individuals. People with poor scores could find themselves unable to get bank loans or buy plane tickets. Advocates claim that a system is necessary in a country where few people have credit ratings. But detractors see it as a kind of dystopic super-surveillance. Celia Hatton and a panel of expert guests weighs up the costs and benefits of social credit.
(Photo: A Chinese woman walks along the street holding a broom and dustpan. Credit: Getty Images)
Rana Mitter – Professor of Chinese History, Oxford University
Samantha Hoffman – Visiting Fellow at Mercator Institute for China Studies
Cindy Yu – Writer at the British magazine, The Spectator
Duncan Clark – Chairman of BDA China, a technology consultancy in Beijing