SW China mega-city building huge security system

Mar 08, 2011
People walk under the gaze of a Chinese police close circuit cameras. The mega-city of Chongqing in southwest China plans to build a $2.6 billion security system that will be one of the world's largest with 500,000 surveillance cameras, state media have said.

The mega-city of Chongqing in southwest China plans to build a $2.6 billion security system that will be one of the world's largest with 500,000 surveillance cameras, state media have said.

Chongqing police chief Wang Zhijun said the system would be the world's largest new network since the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, the Global Times reported.

The system would dwarf a network of 40,000 security cameras installed in the capital of China's far-western Xinjiang region last year, following deadly July 2009 clashes between Muslim Uighurs and members of the majority Han group.

Chongqing's more than 500,000 cameras, which are due to be installed by 2012, will mainly be used for crime prevention, emergency controls and rescue operations, a police spokesman told the Global Times.

The computerised cameras will be managed under one network, allowing authorities and emergency services in the province-sized area of more than 30 million people to share the video feeds, the paper said.

A crackdown on organised crime two years ago in the sprawling municipality led to numerous high-level prosecutions for corruption and mafia crime that have shocked the nation as it revealed Chongqing's underworld.

It also helped make a star of Bo Xilai, Chongqing's charismatic Communist Party chief and one of a new generation of Chinese leaders who are set to take power in 2012.

Chinese authorities are increasingly enlisting technology for security purposes. Face recognition technology was widely rolled out in Beijing during the 2008 Olympic Games.

The government has expended tremendous resources to police online activity and block anti-government postings and other politically sensitive material with a system known as the "Great Firewall of China".

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