Yang Fan | Radio Free Asia
China’s social credit system gathered pace on Friday with fresh announcements of sanctions for people and companies accused of fiddling taxes, running afoul of financial market reporting requirements and misbehaving as airline passengers.
The official Credit China website published a list of 169 people banned from traveling by train after breaking government rules, including underpayment of taxes and failing to provide required information as a listed company.
Some banned passengers were accused of “disrupting public order in railway stations,” and “endangering the railways,” the report said.
Others on the list had been cited for smoking or traveling without a valid ticket on trains.
In a separate announcement, 86 were sanctioned by the country’s civil aviation authority for causing trouble on flights, failing to comply with airport security, or for having dangerous goods in their baggage.
They were slapped with a one-year ban from Air China flights for infractions such as using another person’s boarding pass, and failing to respect the law during airport security inspections, according to a separate notice on the Credit China website.
Some passengers were also accused of spreading false information about terrorism and civil aviation security, forging others’ identification documents, or “blocking” lines at check-in counters and security channels.
Some have already been subjected to administrative penalties, such as fines, or criminal prosecution, the statement said.
Guangzhou-based rights activist Zhang Wuzhou said people can also be banned for more political reasons, however, adding that she has been banned from buying train tickets for pursuing a complaint against the ruling Chinese Communist Party.
Zhang has herself been barred from traveling by train for pursuing a petition against local officials.
“I think they only do this to long-term petitioners,” she told RFA.
But she said that much of the implementation of the rules is inconsistent and haphazard, meaning that the social credit system is inherently flawed.
“They don’t enforce rules that they should enforce,” Zhang told RFA on Friday. “For example, they won’t let you on the train if you are smoking, but if people smoke once they are on the train, nobody does anything about it.”