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Moving Data, Moving People: China's social credit system and the mobile population

Moving Data, Moving People: China's social credit system and the mobile population

Researchers at Aalborg University (AAU) and the IT University of Copenhagen (ITU) has received DKK 6.2 million to follow the development of China's social credit system.

Last modified: 31.08.2020

The social credit system is a major political prestige project to be implemented in 2020. It remains unclear what the exact content of the system will be, and how its different local versions will be implemented and integrated, but the ambition is that all citizens and businesses be assigned an identification number accompanied by a social credit score.

According to China's prime minister, Li Keqiang, the system will ensure that there is always a green light for people with a high score and always a red light for people with a low score.

Differentiation based on behaviour

The social credit system may enable new forms of state control of citizens across different localities in an increasingly mobile society.

At the same time, however, China's many migrants will have the opportunity to build electronically registered credibility on par with local citizens. The new system could thus contribute to break down boundaries defined by where people are from with new forms of differentiation based on individual behaviour.

According to China's prime minister, Li Keqiang, the system will ensure that there is always a green light for people with a high score and always a red light for people with a low score.

The research project will follow the implementation of the new system to investigate what the social credit system will mean for trust and control between the mobile population, local governments and businesses.

The project will thus contribute new knowledge on three important fronts:

  1. A mapping of the actual content of China’s social credit system,
  2. A culturally grounded understanding of the interaction between technology and trust,
  3. A reinterpretation of the terms of China's mobile population as they achieve a lifestyle similar to that of the middle class.

The research project is funded by the Independent Research Fund Denmark.

The project is headed by Rachel Douglas-Jones, Associate Professor, ITU. The AAU part of the project is conducted by the Development and International Relations research group. AAU's share of the funding is DKK 3.4 million.

Contact

Department of Politics and Society • Fibigerstræde 1,3 and 5, 9220 Aalborg East • Frederikskaj 10B, 2450 Copenhagen SV
Phone.: +45 9940 8192 • Email: inst.dps@dps.aau.dk
VAT no.: 29102384 • EAN no.: 5798000420656 • P numbers: Aalborg: 1003888237, Copenhagen: 1018019139