Thesis Title
Understanding China’s Social Credit System (SCS) through media representation, official discourses, and organisational practice

Research Description
Liu’s research aims at providing a new comprehensive analysis of China’s social credit system (SCS) that is currently implemented in provinces and cities in China, with an emphasis on regulating social activities among governments, corporates, and individuals, empowered by advanced digital technologies. The research draws from different perspectives and considers of:

  1. China’s current technological resources and support,
  2. China’s current social situations, and
  3. the country’s historical and cultural heritage.

In particular, the research concentrates on three varied aspects of the representation and implementation of SCS that currently attract few attentions in academic literature, involving the analysis of traditional and social media representation, official discourses, and practical implementations. Liu’s research intends to answer two main questions as following – how does Chinese government utilise Social Credit System (SCS) empowered by digitisation to achieve social governance, control, and impact and what are the main public responses and reactions to such initiation. The research seeks not only to identify the similarities and divergences across media domains to better understand the perception of SCS by its intended audience, but also addresses the emerging role of social media that plays in public sphere in the digitalised new era with Information Communication Technologies (ICTs). Secondly, the research purposes to explore in-depth the complexity of SCS theoretically, with considerations ranging from historical materialism, datafication and surveillance, media discourses and public sphere to modernisation and urbanisation. Thirdly, Liu’s research proposes to add in new understandings of China’s SCS to scholarship regarding its own complexity, as a national policy that affects the entire society and uses digital media and information technology to disseminate and implement information and analyse data aggregated. More importantly, the examination of regional and digital implementation of SCS as well showcases one possible means responding to the progression of digital technology.

Dr Aneta Podkalicka, Monash University
Prof Mark Andrejevic, Monash University