The Beijing municipal government has rolled out a ranking and appraisal system for professionals working in the digital news industry.

The system will test online news editors on their “political thoughts, professional ethics, relevant theoretical knowledge, knowledge of laws and regulations and the ability to put professional skills into use,” a government document released on Tuesday said. Those who pass the exams and evaluations will be awarded official accreditation on four levels – junior, intermediate, deputy senior and senior.

china ranks online editors

The pilot programme took effect on December 12.

In China, accreditation systems are a way for the government to regulate and monitor professionals. From accountants and lawyers to logistics workers and makeup artists, people working in almost all professions are ranked on different levels. While official evaluations are not mandatory in some industries, more senior rankings mean better salaries and benefits as well as higher social status.

Such systems have been criticised as inefficient and vulnerable to corruption. Critics also say they are a tool for government political control. In November, a law professor from Renmin University said the government is mulling a ranking system for lawyers which will prevent those with low rankings from working on cases dealt with by higher courts, Initium Media reported. Previous attempts to rank lawyers were met with resistance, Initium said.

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Vivienne Zeng

Vivienne Zeng is a journalist from China with three years' experience covering Hong Kong and mainland affairs. She has an MA in journalism from the University of Hong Kong. Her work has been featured on outlets such as Al Jazeera+ and MSNBC.