China Gives Credit Score a New Meaning

The Sesame Credit app is now used to track the social credit score of Chinese citizens.

Sesame Credit

The Sesame Credit app is now used to track the social credit score of Chinese citizens.

Patrick Ales, Staff Writer

The People’s Republic of China has steadily been moving towards a totalitarian state, forcing the hand of Western allies on its path to a full indoctrination of the largest population on the planet. United States Vice President Mike Pence has criticized the implementation of this program, claiming that “China’s rulers aim to implement an Orwellian system premised on controlling virtually every facet of human life.” This new credit system gives each individual citizen a score that is used to determine their eligibility for different social programs and even for basic luxuries such as transportation and owning pets. The Chinese government has promised implementation of this program by 2020, and most of the pilot programs run by the city or regional councils are largely disorganized. Many of these pilots have had drastic consequences on the individual liberties in these communities, but the Chinese government has shown no signs of pulling the plug.

The program is based on the widespread use of cameras that track people’s movements and judge them based on their activity in certain areas. For example, smoking in a non-smoking zone or playing too many video games will lower your score drastically. The exact methodology of this new project has not been released and probably will not be, but there is a certainty that this credit score can move back up after “good” actions. The system is supposed to increase the trust citizens have in each other and in the government, but it seems to just be alienating the population from an administration intent on controlling them.

“A system that follows people around and scrutinizes their every move is straight out of an Orwellian dystopia and has no place in a modern society,” senior Angelle Garcia said.

However, there are some Chinese citizens that credit the program for instantly making them better members of the community. This outcome should have been expected, as any population is willing to adapt in order to survive in the face of adversity, but this social betterment comes at a great cost.

Pullquote Photo

The new credit system in China is especially alarming because no one has really done anything to reprimand the government in the nearly four years since the announcement of the program. ”

— junior Charlie Sommer

The loss of individual liberty and privacy in the fastest growing economy and most populated nation in the world should come as a wake-up call to many in the West that had forgiven China for previous transgressions in their military or economic strategy. A country that has been previously indoctrinated by a communist regime promising social betterment seems to be falling into the same downward spiral once more. As much as the United States wishes to stay away from China’s internal conflicts over concerns in trade, action must be taken to prevent such clear violations of civil liberties as this new credit system presents. Hope that China will cease implementation of the program on their own merit is understandably low, and the West cannot sit idly by as the Chinese government takes another step towards a totalitarian social state.