Saturday, April 30, 2022

China's Social Credit Policy

I plan to introduce my Current Events students to China's social credit system with a lesson that I found from another teacher, some outside readings,  and a couple of video clips.

China has instituted a series of initiatives and databases to monitor the trustworthiness of its citizens and companies.  

They do it by combining older and state-of-the-art technologies like phone scanners, facial recognition cameras, and fingerprint databases. 

Citizens and companies earn a good social credit score for good behavior and a bad one for bad behavior.  So far,  according to Foreign Policy,  the state mainly targets companies, not individuals, at least not yet.  The goal is to  "improve the enforcement of legal and administrative rules" like "food safety infringements, environmental damage, or wage arrears."

Here's an interesting lesson plan from another teacher, Shane Markowitz, an educator in Europe.  It includes a reading with embedded questions that he assigns after a brief discussion about what surveillance means. What happens, for example, to the data that your iPhone or computer, passes on to the big technology companies.  His website has other lessons that are worth investigating.

And here is a good introductory video clip from CBS. It runs for seven minutes.

The New York Times has a good essay called  "A Surveillance Net Blankets China’s Cities, Giving Police Vast Powers" and includes an embedded video called "Chinese Cameras come with Chinese Tactics."

The New Yorker has an interesting story called "How China Wants to Rate Its Citizens." And NPR's Planet Money has a  9-minute broadcast called "China's Social Credit System."

Finally, DW, a German public broadcast company, has a 42-minute documentary called "China - Surveillance state or way of the future?"

1 comment:

Unknown said...

This is a great lesson idea and extremely interesting! So many websites, companies, and people judge themselves or their products on the amount of "likes" that they receive, and it seems that China is trying to set up a ranking system based on this. I find the idea to be very scary. Kids are already so worried about how their peers view them that this system seems like it could spell disaster for our social system. Thank you for posting about this and I look forward to using a lesson like this in the classroom!