A top Hong Kong government official has said that mainland China’s social credit system will not be implemented in the city.

Under the social credit system, Chinese citizens are rated with a social score in some regions. Those who fail to pay debts or taxes, fundraise illegally, participate in fraud, or violate traffic regulations may receive punishments such as being barred from buying public transport tickets or booking hotel rooms.

Patrick Nip
Patrick Nip. File

Last Friday, the Guangdong Province government issued a three-year action plan – spanning from 2018 to 2020 – to push forward the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area integration proposal. Section 75 said that the establishment of a social credit system should be sped up in the region.

When Taiwanese media Liberty Times reported the plan on Monday, the newspaper claimed that the social credit system would be implemented in Hong Kong by 2020.

Credit China Hong Kong Macau Taiwan
The Credit China website. Highlighted items are Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, but they do not link to any websites. Photo: Screenshot.

Mainland China’s official Credit China website has a section linking to social credit system websites in different provinces. The section listed Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, but the three listings did not link to any websites. A screenshot of the section was nevertheless widely shared.

On Tuesday, Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Patrick Nip responded to the claims on his Facebook page, saying that the system will not be introduced in Hong Kong.

“Such claims are totally unfounded,” he said.

【❗️澄清❗️】就有台灣報章和網上平台指內地的「社會信用體系」將在香港實施,現澄清絕無此事。廣東省7月5日印發推進粵港澳大灣區建設三年行動計劃(2018-2020年),其中包括加快社會信用體系建設,這項措施與香港無關,絕對不會在香港實施。新聞公報:https://bit.ly/2YHkz7B#社會信用體系不在港實施 #聶德權 #patricknip

Posted by 聶德權 Patrick Nip on Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Nip said Guangdong province’s new measure was not related to the city: “It will absolutely not be implemented in Hong Kong,” he said.

Many activists left comments on Nip’s Facebook post.

“How is the action plan for Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area not related to Hong Kong?” said Demosisto activist Joshua Wong.

“Patrick Nip, are you trying to advocate Hong Kong independence?” said Community March activist Ben Lam.

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.