AbstractIn 2014 the Chinese State Council announced the establishment of a nationwide comprehensive social credit system. Western narratives often describe the initiative as a technologically enhanced tool of autocratic control for scoring people. Yet, as the paper aims to show, similar accounts are tainted by several misunderstandings which perpetuate Western orientalist postures towards Chinese law.For the purpose of comparatively assessing the Chinese social credit system, the paper analyses the pilot programs set up to monitor people and enterprises’ behaviour by twenty-eight Chinese cities. The analysis will demonstrate that these pilot programs rely on low-tech methodologies, have limited strings attached, and are based on a relatively transparent legal framework. From a comparative perspective, our findings suggest that Chinese cities’ experiments raise problems that are similar to those posed by measurement practices widely employed in the West.
European Journal of Comparative Law and Governance – Brill
Published: Jan 27, 2021