Millions in China with bad 'social credit' barred from buying plane, train tickets

Millions in China with bad 'social credit' barred from buying plane, train tickets

Passengers cast shadows outside the Beijing Railway Station during the Chinese Lunar New Year trave
Passengers cast shadows outside the Beijing Railway Station during the Chinese Lunar New Year travel rush, as the annual Spring Festival holidays end, Feb 14, 2016. (Photo: Reuters/Damir Sagolj/Files) 

SHANGHAI: More than nine million people in China have been barred from buying plane tickets and another three million from buying business-class train tickets because of their poor "social credit" ratings, according to deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission. 

Under China's social scoring system, trustworthy entrepreneurs and individuals will be rewarded, while those who commit social misdeeds such as fraud, spreading false information about terrorism and causing trouble on flights will be discredited.

The system, which China started to build three years ago, covered people's behaviour in areas such as tax and bill payment. And authorities have expanded the scope of the system over the years.

On Friday (Mar 16), it was announced that travellers who used expired tickets or smoked on trains would also be put on a blacklist, according to statements issued on the National Development and Reform Commission's website.

Those found to have committed financial wrongdoings, such as employers who failed to pay social insurance or people who refuse to pay fines, would also face restrictions, said the statements which were dated Mar 2.

The commission added that the new rules would come into effect on May 1.

The move is in line with President's Xi Jinping's plan to construct a social credit system based on the principle of "once untrustworthy, always restricted", said one of the notices which was signed by eight ministries, including the country's aviation regulator and the Supreme People's Court.

According to a Xinhua News Agency report, the government will look to improving the mechanism to ensure that social credit records are updated timely and disputes can be well handled.

Source: Reuters/CNA/ad

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