Consider the log in your own eye
In 2020, Chinese parliament passed a new civil code that went into force on January 1, 2021.
The new regulations contain a social credit system, which is designed as a set of incentives and disincentives in the field of social behaviour. At the start each citizen is granted 1.000 points. Then a prescribed number of points is either subtracted from or added to this sum for a negative or positive act on the part of an individual. People with social ratings exceeding the initial 1.000 are awarded with all sorts of preferential treatment in banks and offices, whereas those whose initial sum of points dwindles encounter all manner of punitive measures, like having difficulties taking out a loan or having worse employment opportunities. What kind of behaviour is rewarded?
Duty towards the state, which is mainly the timely payment of liabilities (taxes, credits, bills); duty towards society, which is compliance with the law, participation in social events, care of one’s parents, having the allowable number of children, criminal record; and the individual’s activity on the net (behaviour towards other users, reliability of the information posted, purchases made and the like. The three categories are subjected to an algorithm which determines the social rating of a citizen. This in turn facilitates or impedes an individual’s efforts in terms of the availability of social services, price of credit, access to good education, travel abroad, employment or career in state-run institutions. The social rating system is made possible by heavy monitoring, by the hundreds of thousands of cameras, by the internet, and by overall data gathering.
The Western media have raised the alarm and struck fear into the hearts of Europeans and Americans. It surpasses George Orwell’s predictions! It is Aldous Huxley’s brave new world in the making! China’s inhabitants are held on a tight leash while the uppity communist rulers wielding unbridled power step in with might and main to crush the vestiges of individual freedom by naming and shaming, by placing citizens under a round-the-clock surveillance and making their well-being conditional on complying with the state (party) requirements. A big kindergarten for adults, to say the least; an ominous digital concentration camp to say it openly.
The social credit system has been long in coming and is by no means a Chinese invention.
One is forcibly reminded of the tens of thousands of surveillance cameras in London and other cities, of the cookies which keep reminding us of their presence with every click opening a new website, of the advertisements popping up on our computer screens, advertisements whose contents miraculously correspond to our commercial and other choices, of our smartphones which reveal our whereabouts and record our connections, of our YouTube or Twitter accounts which are censored, barred, or shut down by an an algorithm or real people, of many, many other things. We are under surveillance whether we like it or not, and most of the time we like it. Furthermore, millions of people make a daily confession of their everyday activities on Facebook and similar social media, sharing snapshots and video clips, divulging innermost thoughts and boasting of purchases or journeys.
Likewise, in Europe, in North America, when we want to have a contract with an insurance agency or a financial institution, we are required to make a confession of our material means, the history of the diseases that we suffered or are suffering from, and what not. There are cameras galore: mounted in offices, in vehicles, on soldiers’ or policemen’s helmets, in shops, at road junctions, you name it. Recognition of facial features has made enormous progress. All of this serves the same system of incentives and disincentives. Have you had too many road accidents? Then you will be punished by paying a higher insurance premium. Have you had a serious disease? Well, your health insurance contract will cost you more. Have you visited an online bookshop more than once? Expect adverts of books every now and again accompanying the websites that you visit. Have you posted content that the powerful do not like? Then you get a warning from YouTube or Facebook, or your content is suppressed. You may be the president of the world’s only superpower and still, and despite that you get crushed by the system of social rating that operates outside the People’s Republic of China, that operates in the Land of the Free.
If such a surveillance system has long been operating and continues to do so in the most liberal democracy the world has ever seen, why this hue and cry about the Middle Kingdom? Probably because it is easier to see the speck in your neighbour’s eye.
Picture: Surveillance video cameras in Gdynia by Paweł Zdziarski – Own work, CC BY 2.5, Wikipedia.
The Liberty Beacon Project is now expanding at a near exponential rate, and for this we are grateful and excited! But we must also be practical. For 7 years we have not asked for any donations, and have built this project with our own funds as we grew. We are now experiencing ever increasing growing pains due to the large number of websites and projects we represent. So we have just installed donation buttons on our websites and ask that you consider this when you visit them. Nothing is too small. We thank you for all your support and your considerations … (TLB)
Comment Policy: As a privately owned web site, we reserve the right to remove comments that contain spam, advertising, vulgarity, threats of violence, racism, or personal/abusive attacks on other users. This also applies to trolling, the use of more than one alias, or just intentional mischief. Enforcement of this policy is at the discretion of this websites administrators. Repeat offenders may be blocked or permanently banned without prior warning.
Disclaimer: TLB websites contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, health, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.
Disclaimer: The information and opinions shared are for informational purposes only including, but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material are not intended as medical advice or instruction. Nothing mentioned is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.