Authors: Rick Beimers & Christoffer Birgestam
Illustration by Kevin Hong

The government in China decided in the year 2013 to implement a so-called social credit system, which measures people’s doings within the country and grades their behavior. Recently, a restriction list has been constructed to gather and file Chinese citizens with bad social credit to be banned from taking the train or airplanes, reports Reuters.

 

Those who have been placed on the restriction list must have committed a certain act, such as causing troubles on a flight, smoking in restricted areas or misusing tickets on trains according to Chinese National Development and Reform Commission’s cited in Reuters. More so, the official departments stated that people that are involved with financial wrongdoings will also be faced with restrictions. These rules will take effect on May 1st and is approved by President Xi Jinping, who refers to the guideline “once untrustworthy,  always restricted”. Much of this enrollment shows resemblance to Netflix praised series, the Black Mirror. The show that features an episode where the entire society is based on a social credit system that is based on other people’s (first) perception of a person.

 

Black Mirror is a popular Netflix series made by Charlie Brooker. While every episode has a different cast and storyline, the main theme is always the same. The series, often described as dark and satirical, paints a picture of the way that quick developing technology will influence reality in our 21st century. The story about China’s social credit system has quite a lot of similarities to the picture that is painted in the Black Mirror episode ‘Nosedive’. This episode paints a picture of a possible future where everyone is judged and treated based on a rating from one- to five stars, for example: right after meeting someone, you immediately get a grade through a rating system. (People you interact with are obliged to give you a rating.) Once you’re rating is below the two mark, you get blocked out from buying nice apartments, visiting fancy shops and even using the public transport.

 

Watch a snippet of the Black Mirror episode here: