- Some local authorities around China are monitoring government employees’ behavior outside work hours, Bloomberg reported.
- At least three cities have started assessing public servants’ activities outside of work to determine whether they get promoted, Bloomberg said.
- This new form of scrutiny comes as China rolls out its ambitious social credit system, which aims to track, reward, and punish citizens’ behavior.
- China’s Communist Party has also been cracking down on its members to ensure loyalty to the party and its leader, President Xi Jinping.
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Local authorities around China have started monitoring civil servants’ behavior outside of work hours, Bloomberg reported, as it sets up its ambitious surveillance state over citizens, bureaucrats, and Communist Party members.
At least three cities in China have rolled out various measures to track public servants’ loyalty and behavior in their personal lives over the past year, Bloomberg reported.
They include assessing employees’ behavior at work, at home, and in public to determine performance reviews and promotions, Bloomberg said. The specific kinds of behavior that would help or jeopardize a public servant’s performance are not clear.
It comes as China sets up its ambitious social credit system, which aims to track, reward, and punish citizens’ social behavior in an attempt to make people trust each other again.
The system is currently piecemeal and still in trial mode across local authorities, though authorities previously said they wanted to roll it out nationwide in 2020.
Social credit systems across the country have so far cracked down on dog owners, jaywalkers, and people found misbehaving or loitering in public, among others.
According to Bloomberg, the eastern city of Zhoushan keeps files on public employees’ social credit to assess their behavior, while courts in Wenzhou, a city in the country’s south-east, have shared civil servants’ social credit information with 41 government departments.
Zhang Tao/VCG via Getty
Beijing’s apparent crackdown on the behavior of public servants also comes as the ruling Communist Party ramps up efforts to ensure members’ loyalty to the party and its leader, President Xi Jinping.
The party’s publicity department recently rolled out a smartphone app — named Xuexi Qiangguo, or "Study the Powerful Country" — that aggregates news articles, videos, and documentaries about Xi’s political philosophy.
Many companies in China have been actively encouraging employees to download the app to study up on Xi’s political philosophy. It quickly became the most downloaded app across Chinese social media platforms, the South China Morning Post reported in February.
According to Bloomberg, some small business owners in the eastern city of Huzhou are offered guarantee- and collateral-free bank loans, with reduced interest rates, if they promote Communist Party theory.
This special credit is reportedly called a "red impetus loan."
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