One crucial undertaking under Beijing’s apparent plan to cement its grip over almost all aspects of the Chinese people is a new regime to assess and mark the integrity and credit status of each individual living in the country.
This scheme being rolled out nationwide with key metrics such as people’s tax payment and debt-servicing records, as well as political inclination and comments regarding the Communist Party.
Score too low and you may be denied the ability to check in to a luxury hotel or buy a fancy car, if you are deemed by the authorities as a social misfit, and heavier penalties like immediate arrest or custodial terms will be meted out for graver offenses like fraud or harboring or disseminating politically incorrect views.
On the other hand, “trustworthy” people will be accorded certain privileges either in securing loans or accessing public services.
Your score, updated from time to time, will be cross-linked to all identification documents, as well as biometrics like a scan of your face and fingerprints collected when applying for these documents.
Shenzen Airport has reportedly opened fast lanes inside its security check hall for passengers with good credit scores so they can enjoy streamlined security screening to save them time and hassle.
Airport staff now classify and direct passengers to receive two forms of security checks based on their scores.
Those in Beijing’s bad books will face more red tape and be questioned, while airport staff have the power to bar them from boarding flights and will alert police to any fugitives.
Shenzen airport was China’s fifth largest aviation hub last year, with more than 45 million passengers passing through the airport.
But Chinese authorities are keen to clip the wings of fraudsters and others they want before they can fly to foreign hideouts from major airports.
Xinhua reported in August that the central government would look at ways to further harness the power of big data and expand the credit marking scheme to cover all Chinese.