IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - December 2019 - 79

respective punishments [39]. In the words of the CCP
Central Committee Secretariat, the purpose of the SCS
is to "...expand the strength to constrain and punish acts
of untrustworthiness, broadly shape an atmosphere in
the whole society that keeping promises is honorable
and breaking promises is shameful" [48]. Party officials
such as Premier Li Keqiang have previously explained
that the construction of the SCS necessitates that unlawful behavior become subject to "public exposure and
,
, Gongkai
resolute rectification" (
puguang, jianjue zhengzhi) [49]. This means that black
and red lists are available for public viewership and
records of individual transgressions can be read online.
On the Credit China Platform, citizens can access the
records of blacklisted individuals and view punishments
delegated by respective departments.
The Blacklist system is closely tied to notions of
"trust" and "sincerity," often appearing alongside the
Shixin, which can be translated as "untrustword
worthy," "insincere," or if focusing on the separate charShixin also
acters, "losers of trust." In this sense,
captures the idea of breaking a promise. A popular promotional slogan concerning the coercive dimension of
the joint reward and punishment system within official
government rhetoric and state media is '
Yi chu shi xin, chuchu shou xian' [50], sometimes
Yi chu weifa, chuchu shou
seen as '
xian' [51]. These phrases can be loosely translated as
"losing trust/breaking a promise in one place, restricts
all places" and "breaking the law in one place, restricts
all places," highlighting the linkage between social
morality and enforcement of the law written into the system. One is deemed untrustworthy if they fail to meet
the conditions of the charge, often resulting in a restriction of one's privileges as a Chinese citizen. Blacklisted
individuals are unable to become senior officials and
executives, are barred from certain jobs, have difficulty
applying for loans, and are forced to travel under suboptimal conditions [39]. For example, in 2018, those blacklisted individuals who had failed to comply with their
public commitments or court orders were reported to
the Chinese railway and aviation departments by the
China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) and
barred from traveling [52]. A further 11 million people
had reportedly been restricted in their purchase of airline tickets this same year [53]. These punishments can
also extend to the family members of the untrustworthy.
In some cases, the children of blacklisted individuals
have been barred from attending schools and universities due to their parents' low credit scores [46]-[54].
Finally, as the experiences of those individuals with their
names on current blacklists have demonstrated, access
to appeal procedures and notifications regarding one's
crime or punishment are not easily accessible [53]-[55].
DECEMBER 2019

∕

In the corporate realm, a company's compliance with
state regulation is monitored in real time through the
collection and analysis of big data, both supplied by the
company itself and extracted via authorities and private
rating firms. High levels of compliance ensure a company is appraised as a trustworthy entity and will receive a
good rating score. This translates over to tangible benefits such as lower tax rates, better credit conditions, easier market access and more public procurement
opportunities [38]. Receiving a low credit score can cripple a company's operations as they become subject to
increased government scrutiny and see their market
opportunities narrowed via a range of penalties. Commercial sanctions include fees, court orders, high inspection rates, targeted audits, exclusion from preferential
policies, restrictions from public procurement, and public naming and shaming. Convergence between the corporate and individual elements of the SCS is displayed
here, with the negative rating score an untrustworthy
company receives impacting the personal credit score of
associated key personnel and legal representatives [38].
The CCP's desire to facilitate a comprehensive ratingbased model of surveillance also extends beyond China's own borders. In the core policy document that has
served as the basis for the construction of the SCS Planning Outline for the Construction of a Social SCS System (2014-2020) released in 2014, the Chinese State
Council cited the development and application of similar credit schemes at the transnational level as a foreseeable objective. In this guiding document the State
Council highlighted that producing a system with replicable elements would be considered a necessary condition for China to deepen international cooperation and
exchange, establish international brands and reputations, and improve China's soft power and international
influence [40]. To facilitate the above, the Chinese State
Council is attempting to standardize and develop an
SCS rating market while encouraging Chinese rating
bodies to participate in international competition and
strengthen coordination and cooperation with rating
bodies in other countries. China has already promoted
aspects of the SCS to participating countries within the
Belt and Road initiative. Summits on SCS cooperation
have been held between Chinese cities and those in
Mongolia, Thailand, and France, while Saudi Arabia has
agreed to set up a corporate SCS as part of its engagement with the project [38]. Other authoritarian states
with which China has developed strong bilateral links
are now also listening closely to what the country has to
say about surveillance and the control of civil society.
Beijing increasingly promotes the idea that political stability equals how you control the national narrative, and
this has translated into extraordinary consultation between
some African and Chinese government officials over the

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