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Misbehaving citizens in China face travel ban

China trainThe first of May is D-Day for misbehaving travellers in China as they will be banned from taking trains and flights. The Chinese government has confirmed Labour Day is the official launch day for a system which will see citizens with negative social credit rankings barred from public transportation.

All manner of misdemeanours could mean the average Chinese citizen could end up getting blacklisted. They range from smoking on trains and travelling without valid tickets to causing terrorism related alarms or even rumours. The travel prohibition could last for up to one year.

Bad social credit status could also be triggered by non-payment of national insurance contributions or court imposed fines. China’s social credit system has allegedly been rolled out nationally and monitors all aspects of the average citizen’s behaviour.

The National Development and Reform Commission claims the new travel restrictions for those on the social credit black list has not officially launched yet. The government announced four years ago it would be setting up a social credit.

China travel analysts say there is plenty of evidence indicating such a system is already up and running. A survey conducted a year ago found Chinese people with a low credit rating on the Zhima system ended up having to fork out higher fees to rent everything from bicycles to hotel rooms.

The CEO of Zhima has even been quoted as saying social misfits won’t be able to go anywhere. Zhima Credit is an adjunct of the Alibaba Group and the AliPay mobile payment app. Zhima is said to be the Chinese equivalent of Big Brother and monitors social contacts, education and consumer consumption as well as financial transactions.

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