Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Monday, August 09, 2010

Watching the citizens

Would you believe that 70% of the world's security cameras are being sold in China? It's especially noticeable in China's northwest. And the purpose for all this surveillance?

In Restive Chinese Area, Cameras Keep Watch
For a street whose name suggests throwing off shackles, South Liberation Road doesn’t look like a very free place these days.

At the intersection with Shanxi Lane, a busy crossing in this northwest China metropolis, 11 surveillance cameras eye the bustle from a metal boom projecting over one corner. Still more cameras stare down from the other three corners — 39 in all, still-photo and high-resolution video.

“The whole city is under surveillance,” said one nearby shopkeeper…

Roughly a year ago, Urumqi’s ethnic Han and Uighur populations took part in the worst ethnic rioting in modern Chinese history, killing at least 197 people. The riots caught the Communist Party and the local government unaware.

Now at least 47,000 cameras scan Urumqi to ensure there are no more surprises. By year’s end, the state news media says, there will be 60,000…

In Guangdong… security officials are just wrapping up a reported $1.8 billion installation of one million video cameras… Beijing was expected to have 470,000 cameras by the end of 2009… Chongqing, a sprawling South China city, will add 200,000 cameras by 2012 to the 300,000 it now has…

Urumqi’s taxi fleet has had live video cameras for two years...

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