Shanghai police crowd more than 60 surveillance cameras on single overhead bar watching one road; demolish most of them after media attention


China Scenery  Updated:Sun, Nov 10, 2013 20:30 PM   By Bernd Chang


Over 60 surveillance devices watching one road in Shanghai shock passersby, draw public outrage over concern of wasting public money.

Authorities in Shanghai's Baoshan District have installed more than 60 surveillance cameras on one four-lane section of Youyi Road, according to a NetEase report.

The apparently excessive surveillance cameras that were densely crowded on one overhead bar have confused many drivers and shortly after one curious driver took a group of pictures of them and posted online, the pictures have drawn major media coverage.

Locals told reporters that in April, the poles only had 24 cameras attached, in the last few months authorities added an extra 36.

While some urbanites and rivers are reported to have said  "to hell with the cameras, as long as we are abiding by the law, no amount of cameras will cause us to be afraid", members of the online community were infuriated, judging from the thousands of comments in the photo gallery on NetEase.

Many online users questioned the need for so many devices in one place. They expressed concern that it was a waste of public money. And some suspected the traffic police installed so many surveillance cameras as a convenient way to profit from fining drivers.

Some of the comments from NetEase translated by Cool Chinese Translation:

A NetEase user from Beijing: From every angle, no blind side, it is capable of distinguish male from female mosquito!

NetEase user 牛逼哦音乐网 :  It is the traffic police’s secret to make fortune (by imposing fine on drivers)!!!

NetEase user 游侠MrQ : There are not so many surveillance cameras. Actually many of them are lamp. But even it is so, the number of surveillance cameras is still astonishingly redundant.

NetEase user 萍水城相逢: Public money has been wasted in this way!


Local Shanghai English news portal Shanghai Daily later on Nov. 6th, Tuesday reported that the more than 60 cameras were installed by Shanghai Baokang Electronics Company in order to conduct equipment tests. The company removed all the cameras after attention was drawn to the apparent excessive surveillance being carried out on that one road.  

Largest market for surveillance devices

China is the largest and still rapidly increasing market for surveillance cameras. According to a Xinhua report dated back to 2004 , Shanghai would have installed 200,000 surveillance cameras across the city by 2010.  

Sure Shanghai is not the only Chinese city that planned or have installed huge number of surveillance cameras, according to a 2011 report, the southwestern city of Chongqing had set a goal to install a half-million cameras by the end of 2012 at a cost of 20 billion RMB.

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