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The city of Beijing, China, with a population of nearly 20 million people, has approximately 800,000 surveillance cameras, half of which are for government use. Private businesses, Internet cafes, shops, and other public venues are ordered by the government to install surveillance cameras at their own cost and are fined if they fail to comply. In addition to surveillance cameras, China’s capital city also has an extensive web-monitoring and web-blocking system, physical surveillance, and listening (wiretapping) surveillance. Face recognition technology is being adopted for camera surveillance. Camera systems allow for real-time observation as well as video recording.

Beijing is the largest part of a nationwide program labeled “Safe Cities,” which is designed to monitor activities citywide. While police and national security organizations say that the ...

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