It’s a digitized system that caused a real outcry. The authorities in Suzhou, a humble city in east China’s Jiangsu Province, have put in place a system to assess residents’ civil behavior. The latter are supposed to measure their “degree of civilization” using a code. This assessment could ultimately prove to be crucial for access to certain services.
Concretely, all practices of a citizen classified as positive are compiled. This is the case, for example, when participating in voluntary activities. But behaviors that are considered inappropriate, such as traffic violations or poor garbage sorting, are also recorded … A personal global portrait is then created.
Another experiment is being carried out at national level
After the introduction of this device, there was heated debate online and many internet users openly criticized this concept. Some targeted the selected criteria, while others indicated excessive formalism and possible abuse of power. The fear that certain residents will have access to greater convenience depending on their score is also very present.
Given the outcry, local authorities wanted to calm things down, saying the code is still in testing and based on volunteer service. According to the authorities, the idea is to encourage good behavior without punishing those who have lower grades.
In any case, this sounds like a warning to the government. Chinese citizens seem increasingly inclined to defend their privacy. A social credit system has been tested nationwide since 2014 RFIMore than forty local governments are taking part, as are China’s web giants: Alibaba and Tencent. Currently it is still voluntary and should be generalized soon. However, questions remain about the feasibility of a “uniform and operational platform for evaluating the 1.4 billion Chinese”.