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Social Credit Buys a Ticket for Transportation

Your social credit plays a role when it comes to transportation in China. China reportedly stopped people with poor social credit from purchasing a flight or train ticket 23 million times during 2018 [1].

China has been developing a social credit system to track and measure citizens’ credibility in the society since 2014 (for details of the system, please read [2]). A report from China’s National Public Credit Information Center revealed that 17.5 million people have been banned from purchasing flight tickets and 5.5 million people from buying a high-speed rail ticket in 2018. According to numbers offered by China’s Supreme Court, a total of 6.5 million citizens were barred from taking flights in 2017, from the system’s inception in May until the end of the year, so the numbers appear to be rising rapidly. The travel ban on the discredited individual can range from 90 days to a year, depending on the severity of the individual’s violation of social or legal rules [3-4].

The social credit system goes on to provide a public database of people who are discredited and are suspended from certain types of consumption which includes purchasing items and services above the basic needs. For example, the discredited individuals are deprived of buying soft seat tickets (as opposed to hard seat) on trains, visiting high-class hotels, travelling for vacation, and sending their children to private schools [5-6].


Personal Comments

China’s social credit system has been collecting tons of data on how trustworthy an individual is in the society and now, the citizens are getting a better picture of the consequences that come along with their “socially unacceptable” behaviours. While the Swedish society is discussing how to ensure equity and equality in transportation, the Chinese method lies on the other side of the scale: excluding rule breakers until they follow the rules.


Written by Anne Faxér, RISE Viktoria.



1. 2019-03-01. China banned millions of people with poor social credit from transportation year 2018.

2. 2014-06-14. Establishment of a Social Credit System.

3. 2019-03-01. China bans 23m from buying travel tickets as part of 'social credit' system.

4. 12306 China Railway, (in Chinese)

5. China’s National Public Credit Information Center, (in Chinese, a live view of people who have been “banned” in the system)

6. 2016-09-25. Central State Council’s Recommendation of Accelerating the Construction of Credit supervision, Warning and Disciplinary Mechanism for discredited individuals. (in Chinese)