Which China Cities have the heaviest CCTV surveillance?

Technology has helped the world move forward in so many ways. From robotic manufacturing to the advanced smartphones we all Tik Tok with today, life has become more efficient, convenient, and hey – even fun.

In fact, the benefits of technology have proven themselves so much that China (PRC, not ROC) has rolled it out in a big way. Of course, we’re not talking about itty bitty smartphone apps and the like, but next-generation stuff like facial recognition.

China is Spying on its Citizens?

Two major initiatives have so far been put into place by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) regime – Project Dazzling Snow and the Skynet Monitoring System.

The objective: to keep the peace-loving citizens of this shining example of freedom safe and sound.

China is so concerned about its citizens that it has begun installing Closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras all over the place, including right across from their front doors.

Doesn’t that just warm the cockles of your heart?

Sure, many other countries install CCTVs all over the place. Some have even had their hands caught in the cookie jar, surveilling their own citizens. However, the situation in China is different.

The government surveillance is legal, so screw your rights to privacy.

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In fact, with the increasing number of CCTVs in the country, soon you won’t even be able to scratch your balls without the nearest public security cadre knowing it. Knowing how good CCTV technology is today, they might even spend the time counting your pubic hair and recording the numbers down.

CCTVs by the Numbers

As of 2017, China has installed over 200 million CCTVs across the country. More are being put into place every day and experts estimate the number will reach close to 600 million by 2021. 

6-fucking-hundred millions.

Soon, criminals in the country won’t be able to take a crap without authorities being aware. Of course, being such a large country, different areas will have varying levels of focus. Let’s take a look at the numbers;

Most Highly Surveilled Cities in China

City# of CCTV CamerasPopulation
Beijing1,150,00020,462,610
Shanghai1,000,00027,058,480
Taiyuan465,2553,891,127
Hangzhou400,0007,642,147
Shenzhen400,00012,356,820
Tianjin350,0009,135,768
Chengdu310,0009,135,768
Wuxi300,0003,256,020
Suzhou270,0007,069,992
Harbin250,0006,387,195

Data Source: Comparitech

There are few cities in the world with CCTV numbers that compare to this. New York, for example, has 31,490. Moscow, seen as the source of all things evil to the US, has 193,000.

As you can see, China really loves its citizens.

Of course, aside from the safety of its citizens, the high number of CCTVs in China does have additional benefits – for the government.

What’s Up With China?

Cameras aside, the CCP is, to put it most simply, a control freak. Since communism socialism is such a wonderful ideal, many socialist countries try to portray themselves as being the ideal haven in which to live.

The problem is that that socialism brings with it a whole host of challenges which go against this perceived reality. For example – suppression of freedom, endemic corruption, slower modernization, and more.

Take for example the Great Firewall of China. It’s a fact that many countries do carry out limited censorship activities. China however, has taken it to a whole new level and implemented a country-wide filtration system for its Internet service.

To give you an idea of how tightly the Internet is controlled in the country, we’ve compiled a massive list of all websites banned in China. Believe me, the list is (un-shockingly) long. You can also use our tool to check if any other sites might be blocked in China.

Can you imagine a life with no Youtube? Fuck that shit.

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Actual test result.

The Problem with CCTVs

From a logical point of view, the use of CCTVs is rather contradictory. While it’s true that the use of CCTVs can potentially provide law enforcement with more information, it comes at significant cost. And we’re not talking just dollars and cents.

First and foremost, the effectiveness of CCTV use hasn’t been proven to be conclusive. Let’s take some of the data and consider this:

Shenzhen in China has 400,000 cameras for 12,356,820 people, which means there are approximately 32 cameras per 1,000 pax. The city has a crime index of 33.43.

Sydney in Australia has 60,000 cameras for 4,925,987 people. That’s roughly 12 cameras per 1,000 pax. The city has a crime index of 33.45.

As you can see, the large discrepancy in per-capita CCTV coverage doesn’t necessarily weigh up. Of course, there are other contributing factors as well such as the effectiveness of law enforcement and such, but we don’t really give a shit about that right now.

The bigger problem is that extensive CCTV systems put in place by governments are extremely eroding of personal privacy. Nobody in their right mind wants someone constantly being able to see them.

That’s one of the reasons why many countries have limited implementations of CCTV systems. But in places like China, the government doesn’t give a shit about what people want, since it knows best.

Conclusion

Despite its massive size, China loves CCTV and is spreading that love as far as it can go – even to Hong Kong, a special administrative region supposedly somewhat independent. We’ve already seen how that has been going.

The right to freedom is something many of us don’t usually give a shit about, until it’s too late. If you’re visiting (or god forbid, moving there for some reason), stay safe as much as you can. 

Use a VPN to protect your digital activities in China and access all the services you love from home. You’re going to need it.

TT Shane

TT Shane

TT builds the stuff that Jasonicus sells. You might call them the shit and the shovel, so to speak. Never happier than when he’s tinkering with some tech, TT has this strange talent where he makes a f*ckload of text appear on documents somewhat magically. He calls it writing.
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Translation: English | 中文

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