For the first time, China has officially released a list of blacklisted individuals who will be banned from boarding flights or trains as a punishment for social misdemeanours, such as misbehaviour while travelling, or financial irregularities committed individually or by companies linked to them.
On Friday, the names of 169 “severely discredited” individuals were posted on the Credit China website. The move is part of a plan by China’s National Development and Reform Commissions (NDRC) to apply a social credit system that was rolled out in 2013.
Under the controversial system, each individual is rated on financial history and behaviour in public. One of its stated aims is to “allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step”.
The government has deployed Artificial Intelligence (AI), a slew of surveillance cameras and the Internet to enforce the credit system, which covers a range of facilities from loan approvals to travel.
The 169 people named on the website — the list will be updated monthly — have been banned from buying train and plane tickets for a year as punishment for misdemeanors, including instances of misbehaviour on flights and smoking on high-speed trains, as well as tax evasion and financial misconduct.
The Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported that the list includes the name of Jia Yueting, founder of Shenzhen-listed tech firm LeEco, who was put on a credit blacklist in December and is living in the United States in defiance of an order to return to China to resolve his company’s financial problems.
The Indian Express had reported in April 2017 that ever since the system was rolled out, the Chinese government has listed 6.73 million individuals as “discredited” — 6.15 million were restricted from buying air tickets and 2.2 million from buying high-speed rail tickets. The credit system is expected to go fully online by 2020, when the social credit scores may be published for public use.