Surveillance tech grows in Xinjiang, necessary to counter terrorism

By Zhang Hongpei and Chen Qingqing Source:Global Times Published: 2018/7/2 22:18:40

Technology protects B&R initiative’s progress

A view of Hikvision surveillance equipment on the street Photo: VCG

High-tech firms that provide surveillance products and soft computing abilities such as facial recognition and big data analysis in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region are quite necessary to help maintain public security, which is key to enhancing local economic development, experts told the Global Times.

Leading Chinese video surveillance product makers, including Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co and Dahua Technology Co, are reportedly among the most competitive firms partnering with the Xinjiang local government to provide these products and technological services, and both companies are cashing in on the deals.

Hikvision won the bid for a public-private partnership (PPP) project, the Urumqi Hi-Tech Zone Safe City Project  in the regional capital city, in April 2017, with investment totaling 500 million yuan ($75 million), according to the company's website.

About 30,000 video surveillance cameras are included in the project, which will take one year to construct and 10 years to operate and maintain, it said.

Meanwhile, in August 2017, Dahua won the bid for a PPP project in Shache county's Safe City Project located in Xinjiang's Kashi, according to Dahua's website.

Hikvision did not reply to a press request sent out by the Global Times concerning its video surveillance cameras installed in Xinjiang. Dahua could not be reached as of press time.

Li Wei, a counter-terrorism expert at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations in Beijing, told the Global Times Monday that at the moment, prevention plays a major role in anti-terrorism throughout the international community, while technology can make up for human neglect in effective surveillance.

"Compared with other regions in China, there is relatively more surveillance equipment in Xinjiang and the increasing trend is set to continue in the near future," Li noted, adding a similar trend has also occurred in the US and Britain for the purpose of fighting terrorism.

With the help of high-tech devices, terrorist attacks have been largely contained in Xinjiang in recent years. "About 95-98 percent of terrorist activities can be stifled in their nascent period," Li explained.

Colin Mackerras, a professor at Griffith University and an expert specializing in the study of China's minorities, agreed, saying "the situation in Xinjiang is much better now. There are really fewer terrorism incidents compared with the past."

Mackerras attributed enhanced local public security partially to surveillance products that allow  the region to gain greater stability, which is "one of the important things to drive Xinjiang's participation in the Belt and Road initiative," he told the Global Times Monday.

For example, the China-Europe trains that connect Xinjiang to Central Asia and Europe need such stability, he explained.

As far as Li is concerned, technology firms such as Hikvision and Dahua should play a bigger role in assisting in the region's "Smart City" and "Smart County" public security efforts.

In 2017, Hikvision cooperated on a local policy in Haining in East China's Zhejiang Province to help embed its facial recognition technologies for the Skynet Project, the company said in documents sent to the Global Times in July 2017. About one month after it began its services, the company provided about 30 valuable clues to local authorities and helped catch six suspects.

Currently, Hikvision's products are available in more than 150 regions, according to media reports. In 2017, it registered net profits of 9.4 billion yuan, up 26.7 percent year-on-year, according to the company's annual financial report to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.

Newspaper headline: Surveillance tech grows in Xinjiang


blog comments powered by Disqus