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The Future is Here? China’s “Social Credit” System blacklists Citizens



The Future is Here? China's "Social Credit" System blacklists Citizen from Travelling - BellaNaija

Chinese President Xi Jinping. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

Fans of TV show “Black Mirror” are already familiar with the system: citizens racking up scores through their day-to-day interactions that would determine their credit-worthiness.

The 1st episode of the 3rd season of the show, titled “Nosedive,” featured a woman, Lacie (played by Bryce Dallas Howard) who was trying to get an apartment in a distinguished neighbourhood.

Lacie, in a scene, needed a score of 4.2 to get on a plane, but was unable to as she had a 4.18.

Such is the reality for the people of China now.

In a featured story on Wired, it was revealed that users of Zhima Credit in China could rack up points form 350 – 950, and while higher scores come with several perks, lower scores are a disastrous liability.

Zhima Credit is integrated with China’s governmental blacklist, “List of Dishonest People.”

Mara Hvistendahl, who wrote the article, had a score of 550 and had to pay a deposit of $30 to rent a bike that cost roughly 15 cents.

Lvistendahl could also not get deposit-free hotel stays or free umbrella rentals.

Another Chinese citizen, Lazarus Liu, with a score of 722 had access to good loans and apartments, and could get showcased on several dating apps if him and his wife ever split up.

And it’s not at all isolated and improbable. There are already reports of people getting blacklisted.

Xie Wen was unable to get a loan in a bank, then unable to get a plane ticket.

“That is when I knew I was blacklisted,” he told Marketplace.

Journalist Liu Hu and lawyer Li Xiaolin were also blacklisted, both of them barred from booking flights.

Supporters of the system say it could lead to a more morally upright citizenry. Thing is, though, a government sensitive to criticism and dissidence could make the system into a dystopia.

Photo Credit: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images


  1. Mrs chidukane

    March 21, 2018 at 2:51 pm

    Who else thought, mark of the beast things? Interesting.

    • Frank White

      March 21, 2018 at 3:16 pm

      Smh why are my people so backwards. Mark of the beast. lol

    • Tutu

      March 21, 2018 at 3:27 pm

      You’re not alone. I thought the same.

  2. whocares

    March 21, 2018 at 3:04 pm

    i read about this two weeks ago, i thought it was fake news!! Any other country i would say this is not feasible etc etc, but the Chinese might actually pull it off. Their social and cultural attitude is different. However this is madness if the system means you cant get access to basic things that you should get. A ticket? a loan? that’s serious infringement. I wonder how this will play out.

  3. Becca

    March 21, 2018 at 4:21 pm

    A bit extreme using it for bike rentals but most countries have a credit profile of you, though they insist they don’t have a blacklist but if to have adverse credit then you cannot obtain anything requiring credit and that includes renting unless you pay upfront- norm in Nigeria but almost unworkable in say U.K. unless you’re very cash rich.

  4. Tobi

    March 22, 2018 at 11:05 am

    Signs of the end time yo…

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