China will ban people with poor ‘social credit’ from planes and trains

Passengers at Nantong Railway Station on January 23, 2017 in Nantong, Jiangsu Province of China. 
Photo by Xu Congjun/VCG via Getty Images

Starting in May, Chinese citizens who rank low on the country’s burgeoning “social credit” system will be in danger of being banned from buying plane or train tickets for up to a year, according to statements recently released by the country’s National Development and Reform Commission.

With the social credit system, the Chinese government rates citizens based on things like criminal behavior and financial misdeeds, but also on what they buy, say, and do. Those with low “scores” have to deal with penalties and restrictions. China has been working towards rolling out a full version of the system by 2020, but some early versions of it are already in place.

Previously, the Chinese government had focused on restricting the travel of people with massive amounts of debt, like LeEco and Faraday Future founder Jia Yueting, who made the Supreme People’s Court blacklist late last year.

The new travel restrictions are the latest addition to this growing patchwork of social engineering, which has already imposed punishments on more than seven million citizens. And there’s a broad range when it comes to who can be flagged. Citizens who have spread “false information about terrorism,” caused “trouble” on flights, used expired tickets, or were caught smoking on trains could all be banned, according to Reuters.

But the system, as it stands, is opaque; citizens are seemingly just as likely to be flagged for minor infractions like leaving bikes parked in a footpath or issuing apologies that are deemed “insincere” as major credit defaulters like Jia. And it’s often unclear whether they’re on a blacklist in the first place, let alone what kind of recourse is available. “Chinese government authorities clearly hope to create a reality in which bureaucratic pettiness could significantly limit people’s rights,” Maya Wang, senior researcher for the non-profit NGO Human Rights Watch, wrote in December.


China is a disaster for human rights.

Yes, but at least they are honest about it. Unlike traveling as a brown person in the US who always gets "randomly" picked for additional screening despite precheck and global entry.

I mean that is a gross false equivalence. I don’t understand why people resort to whataboutisms any time we hear horrible news from authoritarian regimes.

Yes. Stories like this (and other ones from Russia) are important reminders of how compacent we can be in the west sometimes. America is not the world. It really is freer than most other places, in most ways.

The US has the highest incarceration rate in the world. It is literally the most unfree country. However, if you’re rich and have a good lawyer…..

Prison rates in the US are the world’s highest, at 724 people per 100,000. In Russia the rate is 581. China is 118 per 100,000

Facts not fancy

It is literally the most unfree country.

Linking incarceration rates and "the most unfree country" is a huge sophism. That’s not how it works. The USA has a real mass incarceration problem and a latent racism one, yes. But you can’t compare those situations with China’s political prisons, social scores and just blatant human rights violations. That’s fallacious and counter productive.

There’s social, political and economic reasons why the US has such a high number of inmates. Mass incarceration is not a cause for lack of freedom, it’s a direct result of the lack of social justice, support and equality. But that’s just me from a more-progressive-Canada-that-has-fewer-social-issues… ¯\(ツ)


I agree with your point to an extent, but its still not equivalent.

I’m a white male and I have been picked for random screening about a dozen times.

Now multiply that by four and you might have a closer understanding of how often a black male gets "randomly" screened.

While I agree that non-whites get hassled overwhelmingly more than whites, I think that your response to StevenRN’s post is unreasonable, as you have no idea how many times he has been through an airport. For all you know, he has only flown a dozen times, which would make his "about a dozen" random screenings pretty significant.

Yup. Atleast 7/10 I’m been "randomly" selected in my local airport. White male.

For all the mistakes the US makes and has made in the past we’re still a pretty good promoter of human rights across the globe. China cant say the same.

Well, I believe the US and Certain European Countries also have no flight list, I doubt they will never disclose who on the list and what would get you on the list publicly, unlike China. In that sense, US is actually worse than China.

Black Mirror is shook.

I was about to post the same thing….. this is scary.

Worse. This is MeowMeowBeanz. Was nothing learned?!

This is more like Psycho Pass. Someone has been watching too much anime.

No there was literally an episode about this specific situation in Black Mirror. A girl social score went down so low she couldn’t get a flight and then fell so low she was thrown in jail. I mean this is that exact situation. No "like" needed.

Which episode was that? Was it one of the good episodes, or one of the filler episodes that are total junk?

Came to the comments to post this very thing!

Filler episodes of black mirror?

With the previous few seasons, there have been about two amazing episodes in each season that clearly had a large budget and a lot of attention. Then there are two decent episodes, and two episodes that are completely pathetic and clearly thrown together quickly.

Thank god that’s just your opinion and not an actual fact!

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