Beyond Black Mirror – China’s Social Credit System (Re:publica 2019)

Beyond Black Mirror – China’s Social Credit System (Re:publica 2019)

The Chinese social credit system has been a widely discussed, charged, and controversial global topic often portrayed as the realization of Orwell`s “1984” or a Black Mirror episode. But both inside and outside of China, understandings concerning the system are far from perfect. One year ahead of its official implementation, we take a closer look at what it is and what it will look like, as our group of experts set out to debunk some of the biggest myths concerning the system.

The Chinese government plans to introduce a so-called Social Credit System (SCS) in 2020. Reports say it will assess the behavior of citizens through a big data system, making automated and autonomous decisions. Articles discuss how those who behave in accordance with Party ideology might receive points, while those who do not meet muster might receive a lower score. If one’s credit falls below a certain value, it could result in a citizen’s inability to take out a loan, could limit his/her travel, or impact children’s access to universities.

Are these exaggerations? Or is there a misunderstanding about how the system works? What if the worst of it is real? And what are the implications for people in China, both positive and negative? This panel aims to better inform anyone who is curious about this ambitious, national rollout. It will try to explore some of the impacts that perhaps, even the Chinese government and its people might not have considered.

I joined Re: Publica Berlin together with Kaiser Kuo, Genia Kostka, Jeremy Daum, and Melissa Chan to discuss this topic. Read more here, or see video below.

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