These documents detail the recent intensification of China's surveillance regime amid the pandemic, aiming to achieve 100 percent nationwide coverage this year. This goal was announced as part of Project Sharp Eyes, says IPVM, a mass surveillance program enacted by the government in 2018.
Purchases of facial recognition technology are on the rise, report Chinafile, as are video surveillance systems. Within 13 years (2006-2019), government officials in the Xiqiao district bought 1,400 cameras, 300 of which were facial recognition-specific, according to the documents.
Chinafile emphasizes how traditionally covert government surveillance is now becoming more overt as a result of the COVID-19 control response. Indeed, the tracing system requires people to participate by providing information about their daily activities, volunteering more data than video surveillance could collect. As in other parts of the world, China is using QR codes and other location tracking on citizens to monitor the spread of the virus.