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Human rights have recently been grounded firmly as a universal, cross-cultural concept that affects the way operations are undertaken. Social credit as a system introduced by the Chinese government has some impacts on these universal human rights. The system monitors and assesses people and businesses behaviors and assigns them with credit scores that define how good they can be considered for benefits within the country. By rating the citizens’ behaviors from their day-to-day activities, the government intends to establish a problem-free society. The Chinese government clearly wants to create a reality where bureaucratic pettiness can significantly manage people’s rights. Confucianism theory provides the way of life that emphasizes on governmental and personal morality, sincerity and justice, and correctness of social relationships. Focusing on the concept of Confucianism, the social credit system developed by the Chinese government is not compatible with the universal human rights.
With the focus on Confucianism theory, there needs to be an ethical and rational position that accentuates on human beings’ value and agency. Having a credit system that constantly monitors a person’s endeavors anywhere bars the person from a free private life and it tries to contrast the fact that the rights to privacy belongs to the right-holder. When a person is entitled to certain rights, someone else is delegated with a correlating duty. Therefore, in a rights-relationship there exists the duty-bearer and the right-holder. As long as the relationship between the duty-bearer and the right-holder is considered to be right, then that right governs the relationship and the right-holder has direct control over that relationship. Therefore, having a tracking system that automatically monitors all the citizens without their consent is neglect to citizen’s rights at the cost of the duty-bearer, who’s the government. Universal human rights advocate for equality, right to personal security, liberty, freedom from slavery, freedom from discrimination, and freedom from state’s interference with all other universal human rights as observed with Asian. When the Chinese Government established the social credit system, it raises ethical issues that make it incompatible with the universal human rights. Despite the fact that the citizens are the right-holders, the system would results in discrimination of those who cannot be able to meet the standards of the system. For instance, if a citizen does not want to become part of this system or opts out of it, then the person would not be able to have social credits in the system. Similarly, if a citizen obtains low scores of the social credits then that citizen would meet challenging obstacles in obtaining any government-provided services such as schools or even jobs. To worse extents, those with very low credits are bound to be hindered from accessing financial supports from banks, travelling through higher means such as trains, or undertaking governmental positions, among other hindrances. The system further does not create room for the citizens to make mistakes, which therefore demands for zero errors; that is unlikely to be noticed with human beings.
On the other hand, having the social credits tracking every person would help to create a better democratic society through enhancing transparency and also ensuring everyone can determine the score of everybody. Considering it from an individual perspective, most citizens who would manage to have high scores of the social credits can be obtaining favors of renting hotels, cars, and other assets without leaving deposits. They can also avoid dating sites and social media with scammers, long queues in hospitals, and generally obtain several societal benefits. This would enhance development of a responsible and upright generation that is conscious of its behaviors.
Apart from having intentional low scores obtained by a person due to the assessed behaviors such as drunk-driving, the system itself can lead to discrimination through false judgment of the person. This is because the system lacks adequate legal regulations and it gives excessive powers to the system developer in determining ethics and morals. This might lead to creation of a false impression of a person who would supposedly be blameless. For instance, the system would offer a lower score card to a person who picks more bottles of alcohol into the purchase trolley yet the person might not be the one drinking the liquor; thus discriminating the person through the low scores recorded falsely.
Universal human rights are observed when there is sufficient cultural legitimacy of peoples’ rights who should feel comfortable by their way of life. Social credit system is not compatible with these rights since it results in discrimination of individuals who are awarded low scores either genuinely or falsely. However, it can help to bring societal sanity and reward those that comply with the system’s standards.
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