Tuesday, January 29, 2013 22:31 – (Before It’s News)
Under the extremely repressive and violent Chinese Communist Party, the vast country underwent brutal genocides of its own people, again and again.
Today, in Chinese cities, cameras are everywhere: on highways, in public parks, on balconies, in elevators, in taxis, even in the stands at sporting events.
Officials say the cameras help combat crime and maintain “social stability” a euphemism for shutting up critics.
They named the huge network Skynet. In China, it is also difficult to access the Internet and you can be killed and have your organs harvested and sold on the black market merely for your faith.
The ultimate goal of the camera network is highly accurate technology that can recognize faces, allowing party officials to track critics in real time.
But one researcher says facial recognition is much harder on the street than at checkpoints, where it’s currently used.
“Frankly, the technology is not as good as described in the movies,” Bo Zhang, the researcher, says. “It’s not that easy to find people in crowds.
The NPR reporter says the volume of surveillance cameras can be overwhelming at times. He counted 11 cameras within a 100-foot radius.
Some locals are unfazed, but others are very concerned, including a teacher at Beijing’s China University of Politics and Law. Officials just installed cameras there.
Liu Xin, who teaches administrative law, thinks the school plans to target teachers who might criticize China’s current system in front of students.
‘Because things are recorded, once they suspect certain teachers are problematic … they can find the recordings and that means they’ve found evidence,’ Liu says.
She says cameras will intimidate instructors from speaking their minds and undermine learning. Liu thinks professors will just teach from textbooks to protect themselves.I think teachers will lose interest and students will lose interest as well,’ she says.
The Ministry of Education declined NPR’s request for an interview and insisted that the cameras are just to deter cheating. Bo Zhang, the analyst, estimates there are now about 30 million cameras operating in China or about one for every 43 citizens. He expects camera sales to grow 20 percent annually over the next five years.