This post introduces and very briefly considers the the essay, Samantha Hoffman: "Managing the State: Social Credit, Surveillance and the CCP’s Plan for China," China Brief 17(11). The brief comments and the introduction to Managing the State" follows. Samantha Hoffman is an independent consultant. She is currently finalizing her Ph.D.: “Programming China: The Communist Party’s Autonomic Approach to Managing State Security”.
Index of Posts.
Samantha Hoffman:China Brief 17(11).
On July 20, the Chinese government released its Next Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan.  The plan has gained significant media attention in part because it links AI with another topic that has drawn a considerable amount of attention, China’s “social credit system” (社会信用体系). Social credit uses big-data collection and analysis, to monitor, shape and rate individual’s behavior. While advances in artificial intelligence, and the growth of the surveillance state are all noteworthy on their own, China’s social credit program explicitly links them as parts of a broader political control process known as “social management” (社会管理).
The phrases “social management”, and the more recent version “social governance”, may seem like pseudo-scientific jargon, but in fact, are given clear importance by China’s top leaders.  In 2016, General Party Secretary Xi Jinping highlighted the concept, noting: “people working in political and legal affairs and comprehensive social governance have focused on dealing with outstanding problems and innovating social governance methods in recent years, achieving greater results,” (Xinhua, October 12, 2016). Elsewhere, the Party has clearly explained that it sees operationalizing social management as its blueprint for maintaining power. Far from being a narrow, isolated political concept, “social management” gives cohesion to an array of concepts ranging from Hu Jintao’s signature “Scientific Development” to Xi’s push for military-civil integration, as part of this power maintenance process (People.com.cn, April 17).