China’s social credit system has been compared with dystopian TV series Black Mirror. But the Government says it is about restoring trust.

“Once you lose trust,”the slogan says, “you will face restrictions everywhere.”

By 2020, every citizen will have a centrally-logged ‘social credit’ score, akin to a credit reference. But it does not just measure their financial standing.

So far introduced on a voluntary basis (although there are incentives for taking part) points are lost for misdemeanours – such as failing to pay a fine. But other anti-social behaviour will also be penalised: smoking in the wrong place, posting the the wrong thing on social media, jaywalking or even buying too many video games.

Those whose score drops too far could be banned from certain jobs, or enrolling in college. Good scores may make it easier to get loans or visas for foreign travel. But the Government has already banned millions of people with low social credit ratings from air and train travel.