A few weeks ago, I stumbled across a piece on Vice.com about China’s social credit system, a mix of “Brave New World,” “The Hunger Games” and Revelation 13:16-17.
Do you think the Chinese government would use this system to punish religious believers? We will come back to that angle.
For those of you not familiar with end-of-the-New Testament prophecy, the latter concerns a “mark” (barcode?) one must have to do any financial transactions worldwide. It all sounded like something out of the 22nd century until I began reading about China’s creepy citizen tracking system.
A short piece at Vice started thus:
RONGCHENG, China — Here and in other cities across China, monitors have been tracking people's behaviors — good and bad — for the country's new Social Credit System. It’s kind of like the American credit score system, except it tracks far more than financial transactions.
And the consequences can be pretty serious.
Part of the system is a neighbor watch program that's being piloted across the country where designated watchers are paid to record people's behaviors that factor into their social credit score. Zhou Aini, for one, gets paid $50 USD a month to watch her neighbors as an "information collector." She records observations in a notebook and then shares it with a local government office that determines the results.
A high score could bring you lower interest loans and discounted rent and utility bills, but if your score is low, you can be subjected to public shaming or even banned from certain kinds of travel. Basically, your life gets harder.
While the score is not exactly the biochip everyone must have embedded in their hand or forehead mentioned in the apocalyptic “Left Behind” novels, it is unsettling.
China’s persecution of its Muslim, Falun Gong and Christian minorities is getting worse by the day, so you can guess which groups would immediately suffer losses of their social credit. Today they might not be able to buy tickets for a plane flight. Tomorrow they may not be able to buy food.
Various media have been covering this trend for the past year. However, when it comes to religion, I haven’t seen much connecting of the dots.