AI cameras spy on Chinese citizens in Xi crackdown

China’s Communist Party has made it clear that it does not trust the people it is supposed to serve

Big Brother Xi is watching you. In an era of high-tech surveillance linked to AI technology, the ruling Communist Party has launched a massive spying operation on the Chinese people.

The latest campaign is all part of President Xi Jinping’s obsession with national security and the fear of eroding trust in the de facto one-party state.

Even though he has crushed all opposition to his rule by stacking the CCP inner circle with Xicophants, he still sees anti-government “subversives” around every corner.    

To combat this perceived threat, security cameras incorporating artificial intelligence can now “automatically alert authorities if a person is detected unfurling a banner” critical of the Party.

“The detection system is just one example of the growth of AI and government tracking technologies in China that have proliferated over the last several years amid the Covid-19 pandemic [and rolling lockdowns in the country],” Radio Free Asia reported.

I Spy:

  • China spent approximately 1.38 trillion yuan or US$190 billion on public security in 2021.
  • The state has access to 400 million close-circuit cameras to spy on the people.
  • Xi’s regime can also track and trace data from around one billion smartphones.

China is known to collect vast troves of data on its residents.


Delve deeper: “China is probably the only country that hopes to use surveillance to create this techno-utopian state to analyze future threats to its governance,” Liza Lin, a Wall Street Journal reporter and co-author with colleague Josh Chin of Surveillance State: Inside China’s Quest to Launch a New Era of Social Control, told CBS News.

Big Picture: Ante-lockdown protests and rare student demonstrations in major cities last year sent shockwaves through the Party elite and forced Xi to dump his “zero-Covid” policy.

Zoom in: Since then, the economy has taken a massive hit with manufacturing stalling, local government debt soaring and one in five young people unemployed.

Between the lines: “China is known to collect vast troves of data on its residents, and rapidly expanding AI technologies give authorities a new way to gather intel,” RFA reported.

China Factor comment: Comrade Xi and the Party have made it crystal clear that they do not trust the people they are supposed to serve. So, the question remains, why would anyone want to trust them inside China or on the international stage?