Trust is good; control is better Exploring repression is the relation between Collective Actions and Blacklists within the Chinese Social Credit System
Sammanfattning: The Social Credit System (SCS) is a trial regulatory and reputational system set to score, reward, and punish Chinese residents for desirable and undesirable behavior. Officially, the SCS aims at enhancing overall societal trust, and integrity. The autocracy literature takes issue with its repressive potential to surveil and control society but lacksboth cohesive theoretical frameworks and empirical evidence to explore it. To fill this gap, I addressed how the SCS could strengthen the stability of the Chinese regime by enhancing repression, legitimation, and co-optation. Focusing on repression, I examined how the most advanced part of the SCS, the Court Defaulter Blacklist (CDB),can be considered a new form of non-violent repression in response to Collective Actions, which results to the following research question: do more Violent Collective Actions (X) lead to more Court Defaulter Blacklist (Y)? To address this, I used a cross-sectional co-variational analysis case study on the county level. The case selection was based onZhang and Pan’s (2019) Collective Action from Social Media dataset throughout 1162 counties from 2010 to 2017 (X) followed by other relevant control variables. The CDB data was independently collected from county court performance reports (2015-2017). The final selection had 3 counties with high and 3 with low incidence of Violent Collective Actions (VCAs), with the former having 5 times more CDBs than the latter. This evidence confirms the effects between VCA and the CDB, further backing claims that the SCS is used to repress, casting doubt on theSCS’s official rhetoric, and serving as a plausibility probe for potential large-N analysis.
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