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This article smells. Like a bad code smell.

Especially since we have the Chinese government freely admitting [1] that they will restrict travel to regular citizens for "spreading false information about terrorism, causing problems on flights, using expired tickets, smoking on trains, failing to pay social insurance or failing to pay fines", according to the National Development and Reform Commission’s website.

[1] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-credit/china-to-bar...

Hey, thanks for pointing this out. I have updated it at the bottom of the article.

To clarify, I intended to write about this in this post initially, but somehow got carried away by the original document, so it ended up being just a walk through of the original document without the new additions and measures.

I think it does make sense to add additional information like this to the post to make it more complete and up-to-date.


found the original source (in Chinese) in case anyone is interested: http://www.chinatax.gov.cn/n810341/n810755/c3359637/content....

2nd Update:

It appears that Reuters made a mistake in their reporting, the ban is only for planes, not trains, according to the official document I linked above.

If anyone knows to get Reuters to correct its article, please let me know!

The Reuters journalist said:

- there are multiple documents about the social credit system, not just from the tax bureau

- people have definitely been banned from high speed rail

- two official docs from NDRC confirm this

(I haven't received links to the docs yet, but will reply to this comment when I do)

Yes, you are right. There are 2 sources from NDRC on this. So Reuters is correct in their reporting. I've found the them on NDRC website:



I've updated the links in my post as well.

It would have saved me and them the trouble if Reuters actually provided the sources.

"It would have saved me and them the trouble if Reuters actually provided the sources."

If we want them to do this, we need to start telling them. To anyone interested in seeing Reuters start including links to sources, a good first step is to email:


He handles enquiries about reporting standards.

EDIT: removed first paragraph, which I pasted in error from a chat message.

Hi, I read your first paragraph a few times and I am not still not sure what you mean. Can you explain a bit?

Sorry, I pasted the info from a chat message and, after adding some text, didn't fully remove the rest of the context.

I've edited my comment and removed that part.

yeah, I did a little summary in my comment below if anyone is interested

Reuters is correct. See my comment above:


Not to mention their attempts to justify it while providing exactly zero justification for why they are using proxies that are completely irrelevant to their ability to pay when they already have a shadow banking system. The character judgements are a downright primitive basis for lending - the kind that lead to duels over credit rating essentially until financial institutions replaced them.

The real why is as obvious as why they don't like it when people bring up June 4th, 1988 Tiananmen Square or disparage Mao despite the divorce from his policies - it is about control and everything else is just an excuse.

The issue I have with the Reuters article is that it doesn't link to the statement on the website. It would be great if western media, when talking about this, actually provide proof to the official documents - especially if they're online.

Question: Don't western countries also restrict your ability to travel during court proceedings? The court says you're a flight risk so they take away your passport or don't give you bail, right? (At least in the USA). Most of these things they listed are felonies in China, so I can see why they wouldn't want you to leave before appearing in court and paying your fines.

I remember reading some other analysis on the Chinese Social Credit System proposals, and it seemed to really just restrict people's travel if you're in the middle of court proceedings (maybe from smoking on trains, using expired tickets, spreading false information about terrorism - https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/1038 says this is punishable in USA for up to 5 years...).

EDIT: source article is http://www.chinatax.gov.cn/n810341/n810755/c3359637/content....

As noted in https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18250502, Reuters is wrong to include trains in their reporting.

In context, this is just restricting plane travel. And they list a bunch of plane / airport - related infractions plus social infractions (such as basically white collar crime, which after 2008 seems like something USA needs to do too).

In context, basically restricting your ability to travel with planes if you do any of these airplane/airport related things: 1) spread false rumors about terrorism as related to air travel, 2) using others people's or using fake ID or fake boarding passes, 3) and a bunch of listings of committing crimes in airplanes and airports (fighting, stopping people from performing their jobs, stealing, smoking where you can't etc...) That sounds reasonable to me.

The article also says to restrict air travel for non-airplane/airport things such as (mostly white collar crimes as I mentioned above): 1) if you're accused in a large tax avoidance / tax related court case, 2) illegally manipulating accounting or faking or lying about finances and not paying back debts (doesn't specifically say personal or corporate, but I assume it's the latter), 3) didnt pay the social insurance for employees AND refusal to remedy the situation ( I assume the managers/directors would be the one punished here), 4) securities and futures deemed illegal and fined and fines haven't been paid, or basically a public company not doing what it says it publicly said it would do, 5) people deemed by the courts to have lost social credit (this one seems like can be manipulated, as courts could deem you to have lost social credit from maybe a train-specific legislation, and thus restricting your plane travel too), and 6) says relevant parties that identify more categories of actions of depleting trust should be added and amended.

If anyone is interested I might do a more specific write up of this. I kind of just translated as I read so might have some mistakes, in which case please let me know and I will amend

Is the statement in English? If it's not, it wouldn't be worth much to link the source as people wouldn't really be able to audit it. Even with translation services, there's a lot of nuance that might get lost.

I would appreciate a link to the original article (I and many millions of people outside China can read Chinese). Primary sources and all

If a huge news organization like Reuters does not have a native Chinese speaker on staff or at least a fluent speaker to read over Chinese documents when reporting on them, well, we have fallen farther than I thought.

That wasn't the point. While Reuters can (and likely has) done that, how beneficial is it for the viewer to see there's a primary source they can't understand on their own.

Not all viewers will be unable to understand the source. On a few occasions where another newspaper cited a German source and linked to it, I was able to determine that the original German article had simply been misinterpreted. Chinese speakers could do the same for sources in Chinese. Obfuscating sources just makes it harder to find out about such translation mistakes.

Second, even readers who do not understand the source themselves might need to know some specific detail contained therein (e.g. your company operates in China and you want to know how you might be affected). They could hire a professional translator to help them understand it.

The reason Reuters (and most other news sites) don't link to sources is probably that they don't want traffic to leave their site. They'll happily link to tangentially related articles on their own site, though.

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