Digital Dictatorship or Digital Republic? Law and Ethics of China’s Social Credit System
On 30 January a workshop on China’s Social Credit System organised by Wessel Reijers, EUI and Liav Orgad, EUI, IDC, WZB took place at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies. Leading experts such as Rogier Creemers, Mathias Siems, and Liav Orgad discussed one of the most far-reaching government programs combining law enforcement with big data analysis.
China’s effort to build and implement its so-called Social Credit System (SCS) offers a fascinating case of a technological ecosystem designed for social control. Driven by public-private partnerships, it combines public policy and law making with data-driven solutions to monitor and control citizens’ actions and identities. Underlying systems such as the SCS are notions of ‘good citizens’, the type of citizen that optimally contributes to a flourishing political community, and of ‘civic virtues’, the state of character that contributes to a desirable kind of civic life.
The workshop will examine China’s emerging SCS from different disciplines: political theory, social science, legal jurisprudence, and moral philosophy. It aims at improving our understanding of the system—examining its functions, goals, and feasibility—investigating the ethics of the social credit system, and exploring its legal implications and the regulatory regimes that should govern it.
The event is funded by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme (Grant No. 716350).