The Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) marked hostility toward foreign journalists now includes students and is further accentuated in Henan province, where officials acquired a surveillance system that tracks them as “suspicious persons.”
The system features at least 3,000 facial recognition cameras integrated with various national and regional databases, according to Reuters Nov. 29.
A Chinese technology company, Neusoft, was awarded the contract for US$782,000 on September 17, and although the provincial administration’s plans were initiated in July, they have only now been unveiled.
The most striking aspect of this surveillance strategy is that it specifically targets journalists and international students and urges security personnel to locate them and hinder their activities quickly.
The U.S. surveillance research firm IPVM uncovered the surveillance scheme after tracking the expansion of surveillance networks in Henan.
IPVM’s chief operating officer, Donald Maye, referred to the sophisticated system used by the CCP, saying, “While the PRC has a documented history of detaining and punishing journalists for doing their jobs, this document illustrates the first known instance of the PRC building custom security technology to streamline state suppression of journalists.”
In addition, the Henan Public Security Department’s nearly 200-page bidding document notes that another target is “women from neighboring countries who are illegal residents.”
Additionally, the tracking system should be of such accuracy that it would allow the identification of people whose faces are partially covered by a mask or glasses.
The strategy includes the dedication of 2,000 operators, including officials and police, who will intervene according to three categories of “dangerousness” of the detected persons.
Just in July, when the tender for the surveillance system was ordered, the CCP’s persecution of foreign journalists covering the devastating floods in Henan province intensified, according to their complaints.
In recent years, the CCP has spent billions of dollars developing, purchasing, and implementing the latest technology such as facial recognition, artificial intelligence, and other digital technologies to add to its network of monitoring systems. Fox News reported.
Chinese authorities combine old and cutting-edge technologies (phone scanners, facial recognition cameras, face and fingerprint databases, and many others) into powerful tools for authoritarian control.
Once combined and fully operational, the tools help the police capture the identities of people walking down the street, find out who they are meeting, and identify who does and does not belong to the Communist Party.
Currently, within China, there is one public surveillance camera installed for every four citizens. And installations are expected to increase next year to 567 million cameras.
The surveillance system developed in China allows the CCP to intensely persecute political dissidents and different minorities such as the Uyghurs or Falun Gong practitioners.