Chinese Province Targets Journalists, Foreign Students With Planned New Surveillance System

Security officials in one of China's largest provinces have commissioned a surveillance system they say they want to use to track journalists and international students among other "suspicious people," Reuters reported Monday, citing internal documents. From the report: A July 29 tender document published on the Henan provincial government's procurement website -- reported in the media for the first time -- details plans for a system that can compile individual files on such persons of interest coming to Henan using 3,000 facial recognition cameras that connect to various national and regional databases. A 5 million yuan ($782,000) contract was awarded on Sept. 17 to Chinese tech company Neusoft (600718.SS), which was required to finish building the system within two months of signing the contract, separate documents published on the Henan government procurement website showed. Reuters was unable to establish if the system is currently operating. China is trying to build what some security experts describe as one of the world's most sophisticated surveillance technology networks, with millions of cameras in public places and increasing use of techniques such as smartphone monitoring and facial recognition. U.S.-based surveillance research firm IPVM, which has closely tracked the network's expansion and first identified the Henan document, said the tender was unique in specifying journalists as surveillance targets and providing a blueprint for public security authorities to quickly locate them and obstruct their work.

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