social credit system

The Social Credit System



display town hall bulletin board
arrest appear (2) role-model
proud respectful give the green light
reward obedient harmonious
rule (2) point (4) accountant (2)
trip (2) credit (4) bulletin board
rank worth it verbal abuse
join square (2) social welfare
loan consider toe the line
surf (2) missing pilot project
fear in charge voluntarily
scheme integrity choose/chose/chosen
allow register pay attention
bureau sling (3) committee
detail score (2) harmonious
coexist define (2) exemplary
regime trusting bring down (2)
mercy to pass by experiment
jeer disappear call attention to
located gigantic house arrest
dare opinion mandatory
explain divide (2) encompass
aware rational consequence


Video: Social Credit System



Outside this town hall building in China is a bulletin board, displaying photos of exemplary citizens — one of whom happens to be passing by.

Sheng Haixia is such a good role model, that she first has to talk to the party secretary before she can answer a few questions.

It take a moment . . . but she’s given the green light.

Sheng Haixia, Model Citizen: “Here this is me.
Journalist: “And this makes you proud?”
Sheng Haixia: “Here it says I was respectful and obedient to my parents. I have a harmonious family, and have helped other people.

All the people here are considered role-models.”

Sheng says of course she’s proud to have been chosen, and to have been given so many points for exemplary behavior.

Lin Chanhong, Social Credit Accountant: “It’s worth it: to get a credit, a good school for the kids, or a trip. Everything is easier when you have a lot of points.”

The village where Sheng lives is part of a pilot project, a gigantic social experiment that could change China. This bulletin board shows the rules of the game. You don’t just get points for good behavior, but you’re also ranked.

People who get into fights or surf on foreign websites too often lose points. Those who don’t have enough points are not allowed to join the political party, or are unable to get loans or social welfare.

However, those who do toe the line are rewarded.

Lin Chanhong is in charge of giving out the all-important points in the village: the social credit accountant.

No one knows more about the people living here more than she does. And perhaps, no one is as feared as she is.

Lin Chanhong, Social Credit Accountant: “For the points, we go to every family, ask them questions and collect information. Everyone should tell his or her opinion about everyone else. We have a discussion in the village committee, and choose the role-models.”

Lin says everything in the village has improved since the project began. It’s much cleaner and more peaceful. Many people help each other out voluntarily.

Or do they do it just to get points?

Lin Chanhong, Social Credit Accountant: “The party says we should create a harmonious society. That’s why we have this social credit system.

Now, everyone pays close attention to their behavior and what they say. Take a look at our bulletin board. There are almost no negative reports because everyone is very careful.”

A few kilometers away in Rongchong, there is an integrity square. And it’s here, inside a large glass palace that the Bureau of Social Credit is located.

At some point, everyone needs a certificate detailing their score. That’s so they can buy a house or register a child at school.

In fact, without a certificate, nothing’s possible in the model city of Rongchong.

In other countries, laws and constitutions define how people can coexist within their society.

But China’s leaders appear to want even more control.

Zhang Lifan, Historian: “The regime here is not very trusting. They always think there are people in society that want to bring down those in power.
They’re very afraid of losing the powers that they have.”

No leader since Mao Zedong has been as powerful as President and party leader Xi Jinping. He wants to build a social-credit and state in China like never seen before: a type of digital dictatorship, one that shows no mercy, even for those who have done nothing wrong.

Li Wenxu, for example wants to know where her husband is. A human right’s lawyer, he was arrested and missing for over a thousand days.

Li, who has been calling attention to his disappearance, is been under house arrest. Her children are no longer allowed to go to kindergarten. Jeering neighbors gather in front of her home to sling verbal abuse at her and her family.

In the harbor of the model city, Rongchong, no one dares speak out openly against the social credit system.

The mandatory scheme will soon encompass all of China, with everyone divided into good and bad citizens.

Harbor Worker: “There must be a reason to do this. I can’t explain it. I just think it’s rational. You just have to do it.”

The social credit system is set to encompass the entire country starting in 2020. From then on, the people of China will be all to aware that their every action could have consequences.


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1. Good citizens are recognized. True or false? Why are they recognized? What is the purpose?

2. “She first has to talk to the party secretary before she can answer a few questions . . . she’s given the green light.” What does this mean or imply?

3. Does being a role-model or exemplary citizen receive cash rewards?

4. How is the point system determined?

5. The village has changed since the social credit system began. Is this right or wrong? How has it changed?

6. Everyone agrees as to the purpose or aim of the social credit system. Is this correct or incorrect?

7.What are the do’s and don’t’s of the system?

8.What is the government’s plan? What is the future of the social credit system?


A. There have been forms of a credit system in my house, school and workplace. Yes or no? Describe it.

B. Are there other forms of this system in society? Is it fair?

C.Do you agree with China’s social credit system? Are there advantages and disadvantages?

D. What might happen in the future?

E. Is there an “ideal” system? What should people, governments and companies do?

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