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China's 'social credit' threatens to become social control

Debtor blacklist just a prelude to ambitious data-based scoring

Alibaba's Sesame Credit assigns users numerical ratings based on a variety of financial factors.

SHANGHAI -- When trying to buy a plane ticket in April for a business trip, an employee of a foreign company in Shenzhen was shocked to have the purchase denied due to the worker's presence on a government blacklist.

The employee, surnamed Zhong, discovered that a company run by the would-be traveler's father had defaulted on a debt -- and Zhong owned stock in the business.

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