Beijing has set up a “trustworthiness” system that assesses companies and people. As of 2018, more than 14 million individuals and businesses have been put on blacklists, which prevents them from buying land, issuing bonds and even taking public transportation.
There are now 51 blacklists, including 18 newly added last year, covering insurance, accounting, statistics and other areas. More than 3.59 million new names of “dishonest” individuals and enterprises were put on the list last year, according to an annual report by the National Public Credit Information Center. The government is accelerating a nationwide campaign to create blacklists of individuals and enterprises it considers to be “dishonest,” with some local governments adopting scoring systems that take into account factors such as a person’s willingness to donate blood.
These lists form part of a national initiative announced in 2014 to rank people by their behavior in the hope of cracking down on fraud, which the government has blamed on being a drag on Chinese society. The government plans to extend the net to cover the entire population by next year. While the threat of being put on blacklists could deter fraud and criminal behavior, Beijing’s motives have also been questioned by some who worry that the system could be used to spy on and penalize individuals the government deems to be a threat.