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Prof. Kostka shares her insights on how the public perceive of the Social Credit System in a new article by THE WIRE

News vom 18.12.2023


Rongcheng’s system was often showcased in media reports, but according to experts, it was unique among local governments. While Beijing’s 2014 plan did motivate local governments to devise systems, very few were actually adopted. 

“Local governments in China have a very high capacity to get things done. But even for them, setting up an individual scoring system of their citizens is almost impossible,” says Genia Kostka, a professor of Chinese politics at the Free University of Berlin who has tracked public support for the social credit system since 2018. One of Kostka’s studies looked at 62 pilot projects and found that only half were developed enough by 2022 to track individuals as well as companies. Kostka’s survey respondents were also largely unaware of the systems’ existence in the first place.  

“It’s almost like [the local government’s] symbolic display to the upper government level — just to say we are doing something, but they didn’t really full-heartedly invest in it,” she says. 

When it comes to rating companies, many local governments also had trouble devising meaningful differentiation. Of 531 Chinese listed companies in Zhejiang, which has one of the country’s most advanced social credit systems for corporations, 90 percent received a good or excellent score. Only 6 companies, meanwhile, received a poor rating.

“You make this huge, time-consuming system for something you already knew from the beginning,” Kostka says. “They calculated the scores basically by looking at who pays their taxes and complies with regulations. But if you’re trying to weed out the bad apples, you don’t need this second, parallel system. You could just make sure you enforce existing laws and regulations better.”


Read the entire article here.

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