International

Former China Official Says Social Credit System Must Make People Bankrupt

A former deputy director of China’s development research center of the State Council, Hou Yunchun, said the country’s social credit system has to punish defaulters.

According to a report in the Global Times citing comments Hou made at Sina Finance, a credit development forum held each year in China, Hou said that a social credit system is necessary so that “discredited people become bankrupt.” He made the comments after more than 11.14 million flights and 4.25 million trips on high-speed trains were blocked by the social credit system in the country.  “If we don't increase the cost of being discredited, we are encouraging discredited people to keep at it,” Hou reportedly said. “That destroys the whole standard.” In addition to blocking the flights and trains, the report noted that the names of 33,000 companies that have violated laws have been published.

In March, Reuters reported China was looking at using its social credit system to prevent people who have committed crimes such as spreading fake news about terrorism or creating problems on flights from riding on transportation for as long as a year. According to a report in Reuters back then, citing statements issued on the National Development and Reform Commission’s website, those that were found to be guilty of engaging in financial wrongdoings — including employers who don’t pay social insurance or people who ignored fines — could also face the restrictions on travel. The rules, noted Reuters, are in effect as of May 1. Reuters reported that the move meshes with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s plan to create a social credit system that it said on the website is based on the principle of “once untrustworthy, always restricted.” The notices were signed by eight ministries, including China’s aviation regulator and the Supreme People’s Court, noted Reuters.

While the notices came out in March, Reuters noted that China may have been using a social credit scoring for transportation in the country for some time now. It noted that in the early part of last year, the Supreme People’s Court said that 6.15 million Chinese citizens have been banned from taking flights because of what were deemed to be social misdeeds.

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