China uses social credit to block travel

China is reportedly preventing millions of its citizens from travelling if they have a low score under its newly introduced social credit system, according to news reports.

The system, which is expected to be fully rolled out by 2020, gives each of the country’s 1.3 billion residents a score based on their behaviour and activity. Chinese can earn social points from doing good deeds, such as volunteering, but can also lose points from traffic violations, or smoking in no smoking zones.

According to the news reports millions have been prevented from buying air or train tickets.

For those deemed untrustworthy, “everywhere is limited, and it is difficult to move, so that those who violate the law and lose the trust will pay a heavy price,” The Independent newspaper reported the government’s plan as saying.

Some industry experts have suggested Beijing may seek to use the system to deter its citizens from gambling and in particular to crackdown on online gambling firms targeting China.