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Southern China to Tape Entire Population

Illustration for article titled Southern China to Tape Entire Population

China, in an effort to curb criminal activity, is installing 20,000 cameras in Shenzen. Cameras will track the city's 12.4 million people, and are fitted with software from American firm that promises to automatically detect the faces of those breaking the law.

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But there's more: 180,000 other cameras are constantly filming in Shenzen, many closed for business use only. These cameras can be tied in with the police system for literally 10 times the cameras hooked to the system.

Citizens of Shenzen will also soon be required to carry ID cards that include normal name and address, but also "work history, educational background, religion, ethnicity, police record, medical insurance status...even personal 'reproductive' history," the NY times explains.

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Yes, it's totally the stuff of Big Brother. But honestly, I don't mind public cameras staring at me. It's the ones hidden in locker rooms I'm worried about (not that I'll be taped, but that someone will find it and track my signal). [nyt via boingboing]

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DISCUSSION

Ideas like these...*sigh*: "Yup, that's around 8x more than the rest of the world combined. I'd say it's just as worse as Stalin. They have some right to go around and live, but really, what kind of life is it trapped in a super condensed city working your whole life for a dollar a day in a heavily polluted 20 million person quagmire more dense than Mexico City?"

First of all, check your figures. If you're going to compare the China of recent history to something anachronistic like Stalin, at least do your homework and pick on Mao. Stalin cost MILLIONS of people their lives, as did Mao. The modern Chinese government? I don't think so. And more than 1 camera for every 10 people in China? Really? You're claiming more than 130 million cameras in China wired into a security surveillance grid of some sort? Where do you find that information?

OK, I didn't want to have to play this card. I lived in China. I go back to visit frequently. I have relatives in China now. They've got a pretty nice life I'd say, despite their setbacks during the cultural revolution. Nice spacious apartments? Check. Modern bourgeois trappings like LCD TVs, broadband connections, and even cars? Check. Excited about China reinventing itself slowly for the future? Check.

Granted, my relatives are in the "upper-middle" class range in Shanghai, which puts them in the fairly high percentiles of Chinese population as a whole but not everybody is working for a dollar a day (and haven't been for a while, which is why labor in China is getting more and more expensive).

The point isn't that China is great or bad or that the US is better or worse. The point isn't even that your comments are supremely biased because they have a right to be and you have a right to voice them. But what you base your opinions on aren't very well supported. The fact that you can't get a simple name of one of the most important events of a country you're broadly criticizing pretty much dooms your credibility. And "w/e it sounds aisian[sic]"? Nice. Real classy.

While I'm on this thread: George Bush can not throw you in jail just for speaking your mind, you're right about that. He can only throw you in jail for doing something illegal, you're right about that too. He can, however, make a law (and he has) that makes it illegal for you to speak your mind in certain ways, for which he can then throw you in jail. The patriot act smacks of the Alien and Sedition Acts of yore and those were revoked for good reasons.

Getting the **** beat out of you is illegal for whoever is doing the **** beating. The first amendment does not endow anybody with the "right" to injury. That's so backwards I don't even know where to start.

My god, this is fun: "If you are caught doing something suspicious you will be monitored. If you no longer do something suspicious you will no longer be monitored." If you are not monitored, how can you be caught doing something suspicious? If you are not monitored, how do they know you are no longer doing something suspicious?

I've nearly made up my mind about you and I'm sure you've already made up your mind about me. Respond if you want but at this point it's already pointless to argue. I'm Chinese. I like the US (if I didn't I wouldn't be living here). It's better than China in many many quantifiable ways but it also has its own problems. There's no debate there. But that still doesn't mean that it's productive to point fingers from a supposed moral high ground or excuse ignorant comments.

—Somebody Chinese, or Asian, or "w/e"