Social Credit System in China

We have previously reported to you on the institution of a system in China they call the “Social Credit System.”  This system is now operating with millions of Chinese citizens under it examination. According to a statement issued by the Chinese government the social credit system is intended to reinforce the idea that “keeping trust is glorious and breaking trust is disgraceful.” The system is mandatory and will be in full swing – keeping track of every one of China’s more than 1 billion citizens – by 2020. This will basically be a numeric scoring system – similar to our credit score system – except the Chinese system will rate Chinese citizens on the basis of their political views, their comments on social media, their purchases, and their credit scores. This new numerical score will be linked to each individuals, already existing, national identity card. These scores will range between 350-950 and will be taken into account when approving loans, travel visas, and numerous other governmental grants. Similar to private credit scores, a person's social score can move up and down depending on their behavior. The exact methodology is a closely guarded secret — but examples of known infractions include smoking in non-smoking zones, poor driving, buying too many video games, and posting fake news online.

Millions Already Punished

As of now, the Chinese government has already began punishing citizens with low social credit scores by blocking their ability to purchase train tickets and tickets for airline flights within China. Three million Chinese citizens have already been blocked from purchasing train tickets, and the government also reserves the right to punish those with low scores by slowing down their internet speeds, as well as keeping individuals and their children from attending the best schools. Ultimately, this score will determine any opportunities one may have in life that we often take for granted. The scores will also be used to determine who will gain access to certain types of jobs. A 2016 government notice encouraged companies to consult the blacklist of “bad citizens” before hiring people or giving them contracts. By labeling someone as a “bad citizen” others can also have their score negatively impacted if they openly associate with them. Doubtlessly, any involvement one may have with Christians would also have a negative impact on an individual’s score – to say nothing of participating with the underground church in China.  The Human Rights Watch called it “chilling,” while a tech-author Rachel Botsman called it “a futuristic vision of Big Brother out of control.” This can already be seen as the Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs has announced it will begin labeling certain groups as “illegal social organizations” and will blacklist anyone they deem as associating with such organizations. We can only wonder what this may mean for the future of the underground church in China.

Relevant Bible Passages

Many Bible prophecy experts note of the fact that Revelation 13 specifically speaks of a time in the future in which the “mark of the beast” is directly connected to the availability of commerce. While the Chinese system is not currently a “mark,” as referenced in the Bible passages, faithful interpreters of Revelation differ widely as to the exact nature of the mark of the beast. Many believe it could be some sort of chip implanted under the skin, or some sort of national ID card; both of which are technological realities. The Bible says that during the last days “no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name” (Revelation 13:17). Likewise, because all those who do not receive the mark are killed by the Antichrist, the mark will also serve as a sign of political support for the “Beast” or Antichrist (Revelation 13:14–18). These details are frighteningly similar to the potential impacts of the Chinese social scoring system – as well as some of the effects already observed. We should be much in prayer over this developing situation.

PRAY: Pray for the citizens of China to find a way to deal with this threat to what little freedom they have left. Pray for the underground Christian church in China as this system will surely make them a target.