Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Welcome to The Blacklist

Nanjing local government has spent weeks of wondering and wavering on whether or not to take on the shared-bike companies and the proliferation of bicycles on city streets. Would it be better to force these firms to take action using directives, or simply let market conditions decide which companies flourished or failed?

Yesterday, officials here made an important decision.

Go after the riders instead.

According to an announcement in Wednesday’s Nanjing Daily, beginning on May 15, people using shared-bikes and found to be violating local traffic regulations must produce identification, accept the resulting fines, and will have their rule-breaking counted as part of Nanjing’s social credit system.

In short, the offenders will be blacklisted [黑名单]--to start making sure how people behave on share-bikes isn't something separate from how they're evaluated in local society.

The story in Nanjing Daily notes that a number of riders refuse to hand over their name and identification cards [身份证], daring traffic officers to fine them and refusing to comply with the new rules. This is frequently the behavior of riders here anyway, especially those who aren’t actual Nanjing residents as they see little reason to abide by rules made by a city which isn’t eager to grant them benefits anyway.  In these cases, without a personally- owned bicycle to seize or impound, some users believe that pedaling through a red light, riding in a non-bicycle lane, or causing an accident is not a reason to take responsibility but to try to escape it.

The story notes that, in one instance, traffic officers had to pull a violator into a local police station to get him to provide his identification and thus be included in the new system. In another case, an offender dropped the shared bike and ran into a nearby park, but was caught. Another incident saw a wrongdoer simply lock his shared bike and try to stroll away.

Traffic officers have said that the failure to accept fines will result in offenders listed on a separate shared-bike list, whereupon they’ll be barred from using these bikes in the future, or at least pay a far higher hourly usage rate.

It’s not clear whether all of the share-bike companies here are coordinating their operations with the Nanjing government, or if city authorities are compiling their own data for incorporation into their specific social credit records. Just getting the local bureaucracy aligned has been challenging. And what sometimes starts off as a policy ends up being just an experiment that gets crossed off when resistance appears.

Like so many matters here in Local China, there’s still a lot of grey. 


  1. I've been wondering how the credit system would be operationalised/utilised. Please do share any insights you might have on how it is implemented locally. Do people even care about it?

  2. This is quite solid, as always the case with the author: http://www.china-social-credit.com/2017/07/social-credit-in-china-and-in-west.html