ALL NEWS

China bars millions from travel for ‘social credit’ offenses

Feb 22, 2019, 7:04 AM
In this March 3, 2018, photo, people check on travel packages offered by travel agencies during the...
In this March 3, 2018, photo, people check on travel packages offered by travel agencies during the Guangzhou International Travel Fair in Guangzhou in south China's Guangdong province. Travelers in China were blocked from buying plane tickets 17.5 million times last year as a penalty for failing to pay fines or other offenses. The Chinese government reported this week on penalties imposed under a controversial "social credit" system the ruling Communist Party says will improve public behavior. (Chinatopix via AP)
(Chinatopix via AP)

BEIJING (AP) — Forgot to pay a fine in China? Then forget about buying an airline ticket.

Would-be air travelers were blocked from buying tickets 17.5 million times last year under a controversial “social credit” system the ruling Communist Party says will improve public behavior.

Some 5.5 million people were barred from buying train tickets, according to the National Public Credit Information Center. In an annual report, it said 128 people were blocked from leaving China because they were behind on their taxes.

The ruling party says penalties and rewards under “social credit” will improve order in a fast-changing society. Three decades of economic reform have shaken up social structures. Markets are rife with counterfeit goods and fraud.

The system is part of efforts by President Xi Jinping’s government to use technology from data processing to genetic sequencing and facial recognition to tighten control.

Authorities have experimented with “social credit” since 2014 in areas across China. Points are deducted for breaking the law or, in some areas, offenses as minor as walking a dog without a leash.

Human rights activists say “social credit” is too rigid and might unfairly label people as untrustworthy without telling them they have lost status or how to restore it.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence criticized it in October as “an Orwellian system premised on controlling virtually every facet of human life.”

The ruling party says it plans to have a nationwide “social credit” system in place by 2020 but has yet to say how it will operate.

Possible penalties include restrictions on travel, business and access to education. A slogan repeated in state media says, “Once you lose trust, you will face restrictions everywhere.”

Companies on the blacklist can lose government contracts or access to bank loans.

Offenses penalized under “social credit” last year ranged from failure pay taxes to false advertising or violating drug safety rules, the government information center said. Individuals were blocked 290,000 times from taking senior management jobs or acting as a company’s legal representative.

It gave no details of how many people live in areas with “social credit” systems.

“Social credit” is one facet of efforts by the ruling party to take advantage of increased computing power, artificial intelligence and other technology to track and control the Chinese public.

The police ministry launched an initiative dubbed “Golden Shield” in 2000 to build a nationwide digital network to track individuals.

The ruling party is spending heavily to roll out facial recognition systems. Human rights activists say people in Muslim and other ethnic minority areas have been compelled to give blood samples for a genetic database.

Those systems rely heavily on foreign technology, which has prompted criticism of U.S. and European suppliers for enabling human rights abuses.

This week, Waltham, Massachusetts-based Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. said it no longer would sell or service genetic sequencers in the Muslim-majority region of Xinjiang following criticism they were used for surveillance.

As many as 1 million Uighurs, Kazakhs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang are detained in political education camps, according to U.S. officials and United Nations experts. The government says those camps are vocational training centers designed to rid the region of extremism.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

Lisa Garner. Photo credit Draper City....
Mark Jones

Lisa Garner has support of Draper mayor to become next city judge

Draper Mayor Troy Walker is seeking the appointment of Lisa Garner as the city's next judge. The appointment must be approved by the city council on Oct. 4.
1 day ago
Two Murray police cruisers are shown...
Mark Jones

Murray Police warning public to be on lookout for scam

Several reports of a scam have been reported in Murray. According to police, a caller pretends to be from the Murray Police Department and attempts to notify a person of a warrant and insists the person pay the bail amount.
1 day ago
An electronic sign on the campus of the University of Utah was seen displaying pornography today....
Becky Bruce

Slight increase in crime on U of U campus from previous year, report says

There has been a slight increase in crime on campus over the previous year, according to a report released Friday by the University of Utah.
1 day ago
Turkey and cattle farms near Moroni, Utah. Three additional cases of avian influenza have been conf...
Mark Jones

Three additional cases of avian influenza confirmed in Sanpete County

The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food announced Friday that three additional cases of avian influenza have been confirmed on turkey farms in Sanpete County.
1 day ago
A three-vehicle crash Friday afternoon sent two people to the hospital. Photo credit: Marissa Cox....
Mark Jones

Three-vehicle crash in Stansbury Park sends two people to hospital

A three-vehicle crash Friday afternoon in Stansbury Park sent two people to the hospital.
1 day ago
A downed power line near a road is pictured in Puerto Rico....
Aimee Cobabe

Puerto Rico still needs helps, the Red Cross says

The Red Cross said it’s difficult to get help to everyone in Puerto Rico right now because many areas are still recovering from Hurricane Maria in 2017.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
large group of friends tohether in a park having fun...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

What differentiates BYU’s MBA program from other MBA programs

Commitment to service is at the heart of BYU’s MBA program, which makes it stand out among other MBA programs across the country.
a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
China bars millions from travel for ‘social credit’ offenses