Reward and punishment: Inside China’s social credit system

China plans to implement a framework of a nation-wide social credit system after 2020 to guide the behaviour of individuals, businesses and organisations. The system already consists of more than fifty decentralised government and commercial pilot projects experimenting with reward mechanisms for those deemed trustworthy and punishments through blacklisting for others. Through first-hand insights from a pilot project in the city of Rongcheng and a first survey of Chinese citizens on this concept, a panel discussion at the Hertie School will address the political interests of such pilot systems and how they function. To what extent could the Chinese system become a threat to or a role model for other countries? How is this concept different to other massive individual data collection, evaluation and storage systems, such as that of Google? The discussion will focus on both digital transformation in China and Big Data in general.

This event is part of The Governance Post event series, a student-led public event initiative at the Hertie School.


Adam Knight is a researcher and journalist focusing on the intersection between public and private actors in the regulation of China's online sphere. His work has featured in the BBC, Financial Times, and Al Jazeera among others. He holds a BA in Chinese Studies and an MSc in Social Science of the Internet, both from the University of Oxford.

Genia Kostka is a Fellow at the Hertie School and Professor of China Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin. Her research and teaching interests are in digital governance, environmental politics, and political economy with a regional focus on China. In addition to her many publications, she regularly consults for international organisations, such as the Asian Development Bank, AusAID, GIZ, Oxfam and the World Bank.


Wiebke Rabe is a doctoral candidate at the Hertie School. Her research focuses on the internationalisation of Chinese enterprises and provincial governance. She was previously a research associate at the Hertie School working on Chinese investments directed towards the European Union and gained work experience with the Mercator Institute for China Studies and with the Austrian Embassy in Beijing.

This event is organized in collaboration with The Governance Post.