Shaming the Untrustworthy and Paths to Relief in China's Social Credit System

Modern China, Online first,

36 Pages Posted: 27 Jul 2022 Last revised: 21 Feb 2023

See all articles by Marianne von Blomberg

Marianne von Blomberg

University of Cologne; Zhejiang University; Bern University of Applied Sciences (BFH)

Yu Haixu


Date Written: July 2, 2022


China’s Social Credit System (SCS) formalizes reputational regulation, thereby challenging traditional remedial paths. It adds trust assessments and their dissemination to the regulatory repertoire of Chinese state agencies across all realms. This use of adverse publicity, however, entails the loss of the agency’s control over the scope and intensity of the punishment as the punitive action is realized by information recipients, rather than the agency itself. Traditional legal controls are not fit for shaming. We map how the SCS innovates public regulation by implementing a strategy for regulatory shaming from the central level. In a second step, we discuss its consequences, specifically, how undue damages are remedied. Legal remedies for social credit shaming measures are regularly denied, as their position in the law is unclear. Other existing remedial channels likewise do not consider the particularities of shame sanctions such as irreversibility. Social credit reputational regulation might best be controlled by formulating an agency practice that retains the control over the scope of punishment.

Keywords: Social credit; reputational regulation; shaming; blacklists; Chinese law

Suggested Citation

von Blomberg, Marianne and Haixu, Yu, Shaming the Untrustworthy and Paths to Relief in China's Social Credit System (July 2, 2022). Modern China, Online first,, Available at SSRN:

Marianne Von Blomberg (Contact Author)

University of Cologne ( email )

Cologne, 50923

Zhejiang University ( email )

Bern University of Applied Sciences (BFH) ( email )

Quellgasse 21
CP 1180
Biel/Bienne, BE 2501

Yu Haixu


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