Brian Berletic on China’s ‘social credit score system’: fact or fiction?

What lies behind the terrifying headlines about draconian social control enforced via algorithm in the People’s Republic of China?

Across the internet and social media, the alleged existence of a draconian ‘social credit score system’ is given as evidence that China is an authoritarian state, particularly by those trying to disparage China’s image.

Various disturbing claims in western media are made about China’s system, including that it violates privacy, monitors and records an untold number of events regarding citizens’ behaviour, allegedly creating a score via an opaque algorithm that affects what a citizen is allowed to do and what services they can access, thereby forcing crushing conformity to arbitrary rules.

In summary, they paint China’s system as a dystopian sci-fi nightmare.

The reality, however, bears no resemblance to this corporate media concoction. This is no surprise given western media’s habit of lying about China in the service of US imperialism.

In this video, Brian Berletic of the New Atlas explores this routine smear against China.

He exposes that while western media sources repeat the claim that China has an ‘Orwellian’ social credit score system, hidden within the fine print of their content they explicitly admit that no such unified system actually exists.

In reality, the essence of the misnamed ‘social credit score’ is an array of separate databases and systems that record specific violations of social laws (eg, illegal parking), or record scores on necessary tests (such as cleanliness ratings for a food business), and implement a policy of legal enforcement based on that information, either enabling positive rewards or preventing access to particular services and benefits.

For individuals, the systems are overwhelmingly related to enforcing penalties related to particular antisocial or criminal offences, just as exists everywhere in the world. If you violate social laws, you receive related and relevant punishments.

There is no numeric score for each person in Chinese society. There is no constant review of large numbers of everyday actions. There is no invasion of privacy. It is a normal form of legal enforcement of specific laws.

Western media eventually tells you this – but only after repeating the propaganda lies in bold headlines and at the start of the articles, knowing full well that the headline and perhaps one or two paragraphs are as far as most people will read.