China expands Western surveillance via "safe city" programmes


Republic Squiare, one of the cultural and social hubs of the Serbian capital, Belgrade, is under constant surveillance by equipment made by the Chinese company Huawei that recognises faces, identifies vehicle number plates, and judges whether activities are "suspicious". Despite controversy over the cameras, Belgrade plans to extend the network to 8,000 cameras as part of a "safe city" partnership with Huawei. Similar installations are taking place across the world, exporting China's values to democratic countries as part of "safe city" and "smart city" programmes. Critics have three concerns: abuse by authoritarian governments; Chinese access to sensitive data; and the potential for China to be able to shut down a city's operations.

Publication: Financial Times

Writer: Helen Warrell, James Kynge, Valeria Hopkins,a nd Kathrin Hille