Researched by Lizbeth Malmstead and Allison Murray
Chinese citizens will be watched around the clock through networked CCTV cameras and remote monitoring of computers which are provided by American corporations. This high tech surveillance and censorship program is known in China as “Golden Shield”. American giants like IBM, Honeywell and General Electric supply the technology. Their end goal is to use the latest in people tracking technology to create an airtight consumer cocoon – a place where consumerism can be enjoyed without the threat of democracy breaking out. With political unrest on the rise, China’s government hopes to use the surveillance shield to identify and counteract dissent before it turns into a mass movement. In 1989, Congress passed legislation barring U.S. companies from selling any products in China that have to do with “crime control or detection instruments or equipment.” However, while fingerprinting technology appears on the Commerce Department’s list of banned products, there is no explicit mention of “face prints”, likely because the idea was still in the realm of science fiction. Such efforts have provided China’s rulers with something even more valuable than surveillance technology from Western democracies: the ability to become more like us in very visible ways.
“China’s All-Seeing Eye” Naomi Klein, Rolling Stone, May 29, 2008