IN a move taken straight out of a Black Mirror episode, China said it will now ban people from flights and trains if they do not have enough “social credit.”
People who have committed misdeeds would be put on the restricted lists that would stop them from taking the transport for up to a year, two statements issued on the National Development and Reform Commission’s website said.
This would include those found to have committed acts like spreading false information about terrorism and causing trouble on flights, as well as those who used expired tickets or smoked on trains.
According to the statements, the rules will come into effect on May 1.
The move is in line with President Xi Jinping’s plan to construct a social credit system based on the principle of “once untrustworthy, always restricted.”
Most pilot cities use a points system, whereby every citizen starts off with 100 points. They can then earn bonus points up to the value of 200 by carrying out “good deeds.” These include carrying out charity work, recycling rubbish, and donating blood.
But citizens can also lose points. Actions that can now harm one’s personal credit record include not showing up to a restaurant without having cancelled the reservation, cheating in online games, leaving false product reviews, and jaywalking.
China has flagged plans to roll out the system that will allow government bodies to share information on its citizens’ trustworthiness and issue penalties based on a person’s “credit” score.
There are signs, however, that the use of such a system on domestic transport could have started years ago. In early 2017, the country’s Supreme People’s Court said during a press conference that 6.15 million Chinese citizens had been banned from taking flights for social misdeeds.
Additional reporting by Reuters