WEEK 8: Surveillance in China, with fun
The readings from this week remind me all the memory about my concerning about Chinese surveillance. In my university in China, you can find webcams everywhere: above the canteen entry, beside the park lane… literally, “everywhere”. I still remember every time when I enter my dormitory, I always put my middle finger straight up to the conspicuous webcam above the main gate. For sure I do understand that webcams are powerful to maintaining security in public area, but there are just too many placed everywhere, which far beyond my tolerance ability.
As a consequence, I’d like to say that I agree with the idea that reasonable paranoia can give you a comfortable defensive position under such ubiquitous surveillance, which can be treated as “healthy paranoia”. I mean that it’d better to maintain a moderate suspicion to the whole society if you want to live a healthier life in China. A moderate suspicion means you don’t need to distinguish every single issue around you, just don’t trust them at all.
Well, my dear classmates, I am aware about the surveillance issues happen in NZ recently. As a Chinese, my advice is “try sousveilling back”. In China, a famous artist, Ai Weiwei, played games with the authorities when he was monitored and guarded by the police. When he was surveilled by webcams set by the government, he started to install four webcams in his own house and showed it on the internet to “help” the police to surveil himself. Obviously, the authorities were irritated and forbidden him to do that again. Ai Weiwei didn’t quit and sculptured a webcam made by marble as part of one of his art project.
Unlike you guys, I have lived with this kind of social surveillance for years, so I’m quite accustomed with this issue already. I just try to make fun with it since I cannot change it.
In the end, I’d like to share several pictures about surveillance situations in Beijing, China.