The “citizenship score:” How do you say “1984 lives!” in Chinese?

October 14, 2015
"Victims of a low citizenship score"

“The shame of a low citizenship score”

We’ve all heard of the “credit score,” right? That number that tells lenders whether you’re a responsible borrower, or if you’re some sort of deadbeat? Your borrowing, repayment, and income history are all factored in to arrive at a number that serves as a shorthand for your credit-worthiness.

Now, imagine taking all your Internet activity and all the doings of you and your friends and using that to come up with a “score” showing how good a citizen you are.

Welcome to today’s China:

China’s Communist government is rolling out a plan to assign everyone in the country “citizenship scores.” According to the ACLU, “China appears to be leveraging all the tools of the information age—electronic purchasing data, social networks, algorithmic sorting—to construct the ultimate tool of social control. It is, as one commentator put it, ‘authoritarianism, gamified.’ ” In the system, everyone is measured by a score ranging from 350 to 950, and that score is linked to a national ID card. In addition to measuring your financial credit, it will also measure political compliance. Expressing the wrong opinion—or merely having friends who express the wrong opinion—will hurt your score. The higher your score, the more privileges the government will grant you.

The system will be run by China’s ostensibly private (1) Internet companies. Read on to see how Yahoo –an American company– is a part owner in this tool of oppression. Ironic, right? The Internet, which is supposed to intellectually liberate Man by providing him with near limitless information, is instead being twisted by an evil regime and its American(!) collaborator into a means of thought control.

This should rightly horrify Westerners, Americans most of all (2), and it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect a government founded on the principle of human liberty to not only criticize such a system and those who enable it, but to forbid companies that do business in the US from any participation.

But that would require an American government that believed in American values, something we’re currently lacking.

I suppose we should be grateful progressives can’t ever implement something similar here.

We hope. smiley worried

Footnotes:
(1) Only officially a Communist state, now. Though the Communist Party maintains a monopoly on political and coercive power, the system has evolved more toward a fascist, state-capitalist model.
(2) Except for certain New York Times columnists who really, really wish we were more like China.


“We find your lack of sincerity disturbing, comrade”

January 13, 2012

Well, now we know why North Koreans were crying so hysterically at the death of psychotic brandy-swilling midget Dear Leader Kim Jong-Il last month. As I wrote at the time:

Some of it may be genuine fear for the future, and I’m sure some of it is also fear of what happens if they don’t perform on cue.

Turns out I was right:

Following the mourning period for former leader Kim Jong Il, North Korean authorities have begun to punish citizens who did not display enough sadness at his death, The Daily NK reported Wednesday.

The Daily NK, an online newspaper based in South Korea and run by opponents of the North Korean government, said it had learned from a source in North Hamkyung Province that, “The authorities are handing down at least six months in a labor-training camp to anybody who didn’t participate in the organized gatherings during the mourning period, or who did participate but didn’t cry and didn’t seem genuine.”

You also get imprisonment or internal exile for daring to question the dynastic succession that gave the throne of the world’s largest prison camp masquerading as a real nation to Dear Leader’s son, Kim Jong-Un.

And people wonder why so many of us are suspicious of government having too much power.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)