Millions of Chinese individuals and businesses have been labelled as untrustworthy on an official blacklist banning them from any number of activities, including accessing financial markets or travelling by air or train, as the use of the government’s social credit system accelerates.
The annual blacklist is part of a broader effort to boost “trustworthiness” in Chinese society and is an extension of China’s social credit system, which is expected to give each of its 1.4 billion citizens a personal score.
The social credit system assigns both positive and negative scores for individual or corporate behaviour in an attempt to pressure citizens into behaving.
Human rights advocates, though, worry that the arbitrary system does not take into account individual circumstances and so often unfairly labels individuals and firms as untrustworthy.
Over 3.59 million Chinese enterprises were added to the official creditworthiness blacklist last year, banning them from a series of activities, including bidding on projects, accessing security markets, taking part in land auctions and issuing corporate bonds, according to the 2018 annual report released by the National Public Credit Information Centre.
The centre is backed by the National Development and Reform Commission, China’s top economic planner, to run the credit rating system.