What is China's social credit system?

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China’s social credit system is a government program being implemented nationwide to regulate its citizens’ behavior based on a point system.

Under this system, citizens are ranked in different areas of civil life using data collected from court documents, government or corporate records, and in some cases, citizen observers.

People wearing protective face masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus, walking through Beijing's popular tourist spot of Nanluonguxiang on Sunday.

People wearing protective face masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus, walking through Beijing's popular tourist spot of Nanluonguxiang on Sunday. (AP)

Citizens with higher scores have had an easier time getting bank loans, free medical checkups and discounts on heating.

Points have been deducted for traffic violations, selling faulty products or defaulting on loan payments. In some cases, people with bad social credit scores have been barred from buying airline or train tickets.

Other infractions have included smoking in non-smoking zones, buying – or playing – too many video games and posting false news stories online, Business Insider reported.

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People failing to comply have been placed on so-called “blacklists,” which companies may reference when considering potential employees. In other cases, students may be denied entry into universities because of their parents’ bad social credit scores.

China’s State Council first introduced the plan in June 2014. The council announced the system would “allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step.”

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At first, officials implemented the system gradually in different cities.

It was expected to go nationwide this year, but has been delayed amid the coronavirus pandemic.