Big Brother Was Watching

When it comes to spying on its own people, China has revealed a surprising -- and daunting -- competence. Few in Beijing paid much attention to the cameras mounted on lampposts, rooftops and entryways along streets foreigners frequent. The SCOOT system, made by a British firm and purchased partly with development aid, was purportedly installed as part of a traffic-control system to count vehicles. The cameras were also secretly counting contacts between foreigners and Chinese, as John Pomfret, the A.P. correspondent expelled last week, found out. The Beijing State Security Bureau documented its charges against him with, among other evidence, photos...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!