Guiding Opinions concerning Further Perfecting Structures to Restrain Trust-Breaking and Building Long-Term Mechanisms for Sincerity Construction
GBF No. (2020)49
All provincial, autonomous region and municipal People’s Governments, all State Council ministries and commissions, all directly subordinate bodies:
In order to deeply implement the requirements of the Party Centre and the State Council concerning enhancing sincerity construction, earnestly implementing the “Regulations on Optimizing the Commercial Environment” and other such relevant regulations, further clarify the scope of credit information, impose punishment for trust-breaking according to laws and regulations, perfect credit recovery mechanisms for untrustworthy subjects, and raise the rule of law and standardization levels of social credit system construction, with the approval of the State Council, the following Opinions are hereby put forward.
I, General requirements
With Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era as guidance, comprehensively implement the spirit of the 19th Party Congress and the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Plenums of the 19th Party Congress, firmly take seeking progress in stability as a general foundation for work, firmly follow rule of law tracks, strive to build long-term mechanisms for sincerity construction, further standardize and complete mechanisms for the establishment, recording, collecting, sharing, publication, punishment and credit recovery of untrustworthy acts according to the general thinking lines of acting according to laws and regulations, protecting rights and interests, exercising caution and moderation, and checklist-based management, push the social credit system to enter a new phase of high quality development, let the social credit system play an even more positive role in supporting “release, management, service” reform and the transformation of government functions, creating a fair and sincere market environment and social environment.
In the process of advancing and practically exploring social credit system construction work, we must grasp the following important principles: first, strictly act according to laws and regulations, the recording to untrustworthy acts, determining name lists of gravely untrustworthy subjects and punishment for untrustworthiness, and other such matters affecting the direct rights and interests of related individuals, enterprises and all other kinds of subjects, must be handled strictly along rule of law tracks. Second, define scopes accurately, accurately determine the assessment scope for credit information and name lists of gravely untrustworthy subjects, reasonably handle punishment measures for untrustworthiness, firmly prevent improper application and even abuse. Third, ensure punishment is matched to the error, implement different kinds and different degrees of punitive measures strictly according to the law, respectively according to the area in which the untrustworthy act took place, the gravity of the circumstances, the extent of its impact, etc, and ensure the lawful rights and interests of credit subjects are protected. Fourth, lean from international experiences, both act on the basis of our country’s national circumstances, and fully consider international precedents, advance social credit construction cautiously in areas of high social attention, where understandings are not yet in agreement, and push related measures to link tracks internationally.
II, Scientifically determine the scope and processes for public credit information entry
(1) Clearly determine the scope for public credit information. The entry of information on particular acts held by public bodies and organizations authorized by laws and regulations to have public affairs management functions, etc. (hereafter jointly named administrative bodies) into public credit information must be strictly based on laws, regulations or Party Centre and State Council policy documents, and a catalogue system implemented to manage it. The leading work unit of the Interministerial Joint Conference for Social Credit System Construction (hereafter simply named Interministerial Joint Conference) compiles and regularly renews a basic nationwide public credit information catalogue according to laws and regulations, and together with relevant departments, the Interministerial Joint Conference’s member work units and other relevant departments may, according to laws and regulations, put forward suggestions for information to be entered into the catalogue, the Interministerial Joint Conference’s leading work unit combs through them and collects a catalogue, solicits opinions from all localities, all relevant departments and related market subjects, sectoral associations and chambers of commerce, legal service bodies, exports, scholars and the social public, and after submission to the Interministerial Joint Conference for deliberation, [the catalogue] is published to society and its implementation organized. All localities may, on the basis of local regulations, and with reference to the formulation procedure for the basic nationwide public credit information catalogue, formulate supplementary public credit information catalogues suited to that locality.
(2) Strictly standardize bases for determining untrustworthy acts. Administrative bodies determining untrustworthy acts must have a document with legal validity as basis. The bases on which an untrustworthy act may be determined include: valid judicial judgment documents or mediation letters, documents on decisions of administrative acts such as administrative punishments, administrative arbitration, etc, as well as other documents where laws, administrative regulations or other Party Centre and State Council policy documents provide they may act as a basis for a basis determining an untrustworthy act. After administrative bodies determine an untrustworthy act, they shall truthfully record the untrustworthy act.
III, Standardize the scope and process for public credit information sharing and openness
(3) Standardize the scope and process for public credit information sharing. Whether public credit information may be shared or in which scope it may be shared, shall be determined on the basis of the principles of legality and necessity, and determined at the time where public credit information catalogues are compiled. Perfect credit sharing mechanisms, promote the interaction and interconnection, and data sharing between the Nationwide Credit Information Sharing Platform, the National Enterprise Credit Information Publication System as well as relevant departments’ credit information systems, collecting departments must be clarified for data that may be shared, ensuring that “what is collected in one window, is fully shared”.
(4) Determine the scope for publication of public credit information according to laws and regulations. Whether public credit information may be published, shall be determined on the basis of the principles of legality and necessity, and determined at the time where public credit information catalogues are compiled. Public credit information publication may not infringe commercial secrets and personal privacy, where laws and regulations provide otherwise, those provisions are followed. Where information related to an individual is published, the basis in law, regulation, State Council decision or degree must be clarified or the individual in question must consent, and the necessary desensitization must be performed.
(5) Strengthen comprehensive management of public credit information publication channels. Departments determining public credit information shall, according to government information openness and other relevant regulations, publish the related information on that department’s portal website, all levels’ governments’ portal websites or other appointed websites. The “Credit China” website, and the National Enterprise Credit Information Publication System must, according to relevant regulations, conduct uniform publication of public credit information that is collected and shall be published, consistency is to be maintained on the content and time period of publication with the department determining public credit information.
IV, Standardize determination standards and procedures for name lists of gravely untrustworthy subjects
(6) Strictly limit the areas and scopes for the institutions of name lists of gravely untrustworthy subjects. Areas where a name list of gravely untrustworthy subjects ins instituted, must have a basis in laws, regulations or Party Centre or State Council policy documents, no department (work unit) may increase or expand them without authorization. The scope of the institution of name lists of gravely untrustworthy subjects is to be limited strictly to subjects responsible for grave harm to the physical health and life safety of the popular masses, gravely harm fair market competition order and regular social order, refuse to carry out statutory duties with grave influence on the credibility of judicial bodies and administrative bodies, refuse to implement national defence duties and other such grave unlawful and untrustworthy acts, according to the provisions of the “State Council Guiding Opinions concerning Establishing and Perfecting Joint Incentive Structures for Trust-Keeping and Joint Punishment Structures for Untrustworthiness, and Accelerating the Construction of Social Sincerity” (GF No. (2016)33).
(7) Strictly standardize determination standards for name lists of gravely untrustworthy subjects. For name list systems of gravely untrustworthy subjects implemented at the national level, the name list determination standards shall be determined in the form of laws, administrative regulations or Party Centre or State Council policy documents, those temporarily not meeting conditions may be determined by the competent (supervision) department of the area in question through departmental rules, for determination standards, the opinions of the Interministerial Joint Conference leading work unit and other relevant departments, related market subjects, sectoral associations and chambers of commerce, legal service bodies, experts, scholars and the social public shall be fully solicited, the period of public opinion solicitation shall not be less than 30 days. Determination standards shall be published through the “Credit China” website and websites appointed by the competent (supervision) department. Determination standards shall, at the same time, clarify conditions and procedures to leave the name lists as well as relief measures. Departments formulating determination standards shall regularly organize third-party assessment of the outcome of standards implementation and timely revise them. For name list structures for gravely untrustworthy subjects only implemented on a local scale, name list determination standards shall be provided in departmental regulations.
(8) Strictly implement determination procedures for name lists of gravely untrustworthy subjects. Administrative bodies shall, before making determination decisions about name lists of gravely untrustworthy subjects, notify the party concerned about the grounds and basis for the decision, and the rights the party concerned has according to the law; where the party concern raises an objection, this shall be verified and feedback made on the outcome within stipulated time limits. To list a market subject on a name list for gravely untrustworthy subjects, the determining department shall rely on corresponding administrative decision documents, bearing the grounds, basis, untrustworthiness punishment measure notes, withdrawal conditions and procedures as swell as relief measures, when necessary, it is also permitted for the determining department to produce a stand-alone determination decision document about name lists for gravely untrustworthy subjects. In principle, name lists for gravely untrustworthy subjects shall be determined by relevant departments of county-level and higher (including county-level) People’s Governments according to related standards, where laws, regulations and departmental rules provide otherwise, those provisions are followed.
V, Imposing punishment for untrustworthiness according to laws and regulations
(9) Determining punishment measures for untrustworthiness according to laws and regulations. Punitive measures reducing rights or adding to duties of untrustworthy subjects must be based on the facts of the concrete untrustworthy act, directly cite laws, regulations , or Party Centre or State Council policy documents as a basis, ad implement name list structure management. The work unit leading the Interministerial Joint Conference will, together with relevant departments, compile and regularly renew a nationwide basic list of punishment measures against untrustworthiness according to laws and regulations, member work units of the Interministerial Joint Conference and other relevant departments may, on the basis of laws and regulations, put forward suggestions on punitive measures for untrustworthiness to be included in the list, the work unit leading the Interministerial Joint Conference combs through them and collects a general list, solicits opinions from all localities, all relevant departments and related market subjects, sectoral associations and chambers of commerce, legal service bodies, experts, scholars and the social public, and after submission to the Interministerial Joint Conference, publishes [the list] to society and organizes implementation. All localities may, on the basis of local regulations, and with reference to the procedure for the formulation of the basic nationwide list for punitive measures against untrustworthiness, formulate supplementary lists of punitive measures against untrustworthiness suited to these localities. No department (work unit) may coercively require financial bodies, credit service bodies, sectoral associations, chambers of commerce, etc. to punish untrustworthy subjects.
(10) Ensure wrongdoings and punishments are proportional. According to the principles of legality, correlation and balance, according to the list of punishment measures against untrustworthiness, on the basis of the nature of the untrustworthy act and the extent of its gravity, adopt punitive measures of suitable weight, and prevent that small wrongdoings are punished heavily. No department (work unit) may, for the reason of existing regulations not sufficiently strongly punishing untrustworthy acts, expand punitive measures outside the provisions of laws, regulations, or Party Centre or State Council policy documents, or increase punishment on top of statutory punishment standards.
VI, Completing and perfecting credit recovery mechanisms
(11) Establishing and completing a set of credit recovery mechanisms. Related sectoral competent (supervision) departments shall establish credit recovery mechanisms beneficial to self-correction and active self-renewal. Except where laws, administrations, or Party Centre or State Council policy documents clearly provide untrustworthiness information cannot be recovered, where untrustworthy subjects correct the untrustworthy act according to requirements or eliminate the harmful influence, they may in all cases apply for credit recovery. Related departments (work units) shall formulate concrete regulations for credit recovery, clarifying recovery methods and procedures. Where they conform to recovery conditions, they will be timely removed from the name list of untrustworthy subjects according to relevant regulations, the sharing and publication of related untrustworthiness information ceases, or the related untrustworthiness information will be indicated, shielded off or deleted.
(12) Raising credit recovery rates. Strengthen credit recovery information sharing, accelerate the construction and perfection of coordinated and joint “running everything on one network” mechanisms, realistically resolve the problem that “credit recovery is difficult”. Related sectoral competent (supervision) departments as well as the Nationwide Credit Information Sharing Platform and the “Credit China” website shall appoint specialized personnel responsible for credit recovery work, and process credit recovery requests meeting conditions within statutory time limits, they may in no way collect fees from subjects applying for credit recovery.
VII, Strengthening information security and privacy protection
(13) Strengthening credit information security management. All levels’ public credit information systems must, according to the requirement of protecting market subjects’ rights and interests, clarify information inquiry and use privileges and procedures, establish and perfect information inquiry and use registration and inspection structures, and prevent information leaks, where information leaks intentionally or due to work errors, the responsibility of related work units and personnel must be prosecuted strictly, according to laws and regulations. Strictly investigate and prosecute acts of credit information leaks, distortion, damage and theft, or use of credit information to seek improper gain, strictly attack unlawful activities such as the illegal collection, sale or purchase of credit information under the guise of social credit system construction.
(14) Strengthening personal privacy protection. All localities and all relevant departments shall abide by the principles of legality, justification, necessity and minimization, collect and use personal credit information strictly according to the public credit information catalogue, clearly indicate the goal, method and scope of information collection and use and obtain consent from the person in question, where laws or regulations provide otherwise, those provisions are followed. It is prohibited for any work unit or individual to collect and use a person’s credit information without authorization, having coerced authorization or to do so life-long with a one-time authorization. Strengthen investigation and prosecution of the illegal collection, transmission, use, leakage, distortion, damaging, theft or sale of personal credit information and other such act. Related departments must implement focused supervision and management of financial bodies, credit investigation bodies, Internet enterprises, big data enterprises and mobile application software work units, and strictly standardize their personal information collection, storage, use, processing, transmission, provision and publication activities.
VIII, Striving to strengthen credit rule of law construction
(15) Accelerating the progress of credit law and regulation construction. Persist in following rule of law tracks, accelerate the research and advance of legislative processes for laws and regulations in the social credit area, smoothen the relationship between punishment for untrustworthiness and administrative management measures, lay a firm rule of law basis. Where the punitive strength of existing laws and regulations is insufficient, and it is necessary to strengthen punishment, all localities and all relevant departments shall put forward legislative revision suggestions in a timely manner, and ensure punishment for untrustworthiness is conducted strictly according to laws and regulations.
(16) Advancing social credit system construction strictly according to laws and regulations. Strictly standardize credit information, collection and publication scopes according to laws and regulations, strictly standardize determination of name lists of gravely untrustworthy subjects, punishment for untrustworthiness and credit recovery work, ensure that all areas of social credit system construction work operate along rule of law tracks. Minors’ untrustworthy acts, untrustworthy acts resulting from natural disasters, epidemics and other inevitable influences as well as acts with non-subjective intent or minor untrustworthy acts, shall be determined, recorded and punished in a tolerant and cautious manner. Firmly investigate, prosecute and attack all kinds of infringing acts, protect credit information security, commercial secrets and personal privacy according to laws and regulations, and protect the lawful rights and interests of all kinds of credit subjects according to laws and regulations.
IX, Strengthening organizational implementation safeguards.
Implementing dominant responsibilities. All sectoral competent (supervision) departments must realistically fulfil their dominant responsibility in supervising and managing credit in their sector, and perform untrustworthy conduct determination, recording, collection, sharing, publication, punishment and credit recovery work according to laws and regulations, the Interministerial Joint Conference’s leading work units must coordinate with judicial bodies as well as other responsible work units who have already obtained clear authorization in performing related work well. All local levels’ social credit system construction leading work units must realistically implement their comprehensive coordination responsibilities, and strengthen standardization and guidance of social credit system construction work in their areas.
Strengthening responsibility and accountability. With regard to recording, sharing and publication of credit information outside of public credit information catalogues and in violation of laws and regulations, implementing punitive measures outside of the punishment list for untrustworthiness in violation of laws and regulations, as well as acts such as unauthorized determination about name lists of gravely untrustworthy subjects not according to standards and procedures, not processing credit recovery timely or according to regulations, the liability of related work units and personnel must be prosecuted according to laws and regulations
Strengthening propaganda and explanation. All kinds of media are encouraged to vigorously conduct sincerity propaganda and education, deeply report on advanced models of sincerity and promise-keeping, launch constructive public opinion supervision of untrustworthy conduct and incidents, advocate sincerity and promise-keeping. Let relevant departments, sectoral associations and chambers of commerce, experts and scholars, news media, etc. play their role fully, timely explain and interpret credit policies, vigorously respond to concerns from all sides, strengthen positive guidance, and create a benign public opinion environment.
Grasping the moment. All localities and all relevant departments must, according to the requirements of these Opinions, conduct a comb-through and assessment of measures on untrustworthy conduct determination, recording, collection, sharing, publication, punishment and credit recovery measures already published, and those not meeting the requirements of these Opinions must be timely standardized. Set up a transitional period for name list structures of gravely untrustworthy subjects having a clear basis for their continued retention, complete renewal determination standards and procedures of name lists that these Opinions require to be adjusted before the end of 2021, after the transition period, those not conform to the requirements of these Opinions will be abolished without exception.
State Council General Office
7 December 2020