China reportedly monitors what civil servants do outside work as the country rolls out its ambitious social credit system

xi jinping tv screenA screen shows Chinese President Xi Jinping during a symposium in Hong Kong on February 21, 2019.Kin Cheung/AP

  • Some local authorities around China are monitoring government employees' behavior outside work hours, Bloomberg reported.
  • At least three cities have started assessing public servants' activities outside of work to determine whether they get promoted, Bloomberg said.
  • This new form of scrutiny comes as China rolls out its ambitious social credit system, which aims to track, reward, and punish citizens' behavior.
  • China's Communist Party has also been cracking down on its members to ensure loyalty to the party and its leader, President Xi Jinping.
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Local authorities around China have started monitoring civil servants' behavior outside of work hours, Bloomberg reported, as it sets up its ambitious surveillance state over citizens, bureaucrats, and Communist Party members.

At least three cities in China have rolled out various measures to track public servants' loyalty and behavior in their personal lives over the past year, Bloomberg reported.

They include assessing employees' behavior at work, at home, and in public to determine performance reviews and promotions, Bloomberg said. The specific kinds of behavior that would help or jeopardize a public servant's performance are not clear.

china surveillance cameraMonitor cameras work in front of the giant portrait of Chairman Mao Zedong on Beijing's Tiananmen Square, September 28, 2009. REUTERS/Jason LeeJason Lee/Reuters

It comes as China sets up its ambitious social credit system, which aims to track, reward, and punish citizens' social behavior in an attempt to make people trust each other again.

The system is currently piecemeal and still in trial mode across local authorities, though authorities previously said they wanted to roll it out nationwide in 2020.

Social credit systems across the country have so far cracked down on dog owners, jaywalkers, and people found misbehaving or loitering in public, among others.

According to Bloomberg, the eastern city of Zhoushan keeps files on public employees' social credit to assess their behavior, while courts in Wenzhou, a city in the country's south-east, have shared civil servants' social credit information with 41 government departments.

china facial recognition robot policeZHENGZHOU, CHINA - FEBRUARY 15: A police robot patrols at Zhengzhou East Railway Station on February 15, 2017 in Zhengzhou, Henan Province of China. The police robot can do the cleaning, monitor the air quality, find fire and can also recognize passengers' faces to compare with the faces of the escaped criminals. (Photo by Zhang Tao/VCG via Getty Images)Zhang Tao/VCG via Getty

Beijing's apparent crackdown on the behavior of public servants also comes as the ruling Communist Party ramps up efforts to ensure members' loyalty to the party and its leader, President Xi Jinping.

The party's publicity department recently rolled out a smartphone app - named Xuexi Qiangguo, or "Study the Powerful Country" - that aggregates news articles, videos, and documentaries about Xi's political philosophy.

Many companies in China have been actively encouraging employees to download the app to study up on Xi's political philosophy. It quickly became the most downloaded app across Chinese social media platforms, the South China Morning Post reported in February.

Read more: China's Communist Party tells its members to celebrate two birthdays: The day they were born, and the day they signed up

china communist party app xuexi qiangguo.JPGA Chinese Communist Party member displays the Xuexi Qiangguoapp in Beijing on February 25, 2019.Jason Lee/Reuters

According to Bloomberg, some small business owners in the eastern city of Huzhou are offered guarantee- and collateral-free bank loans, with reduced interest rates, if they promote Communist Party theory.

This special credit is reportedly called a "red impetus loan."

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