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Building Fluency: Mass Surveillance in China

Updated: Dec 9, 2022

These materials will help you to build your fluency on the topic: Mass Surveillance in China.

Instructions for the materials: Work through the whole post, looking at the guiding questions, the different articles, videos and other sources. Focus on understanding the materials, but don't worry if you don't understand everything. Any new vocabulary that you find can be learnt most effectively using Anki flashcards. If you find a lot of new vocabulary, set a limit to how much you want to learn and only learn what you think is most relevant for yourself. When you have looked at all (or at least some of) the materials then you are ready to talk about the topic in a lesson with myself.

A link to all other Fluency Building topics (and other General English Materials) can be found here. For Business English materials look here.


Mass Surveillance in China.

An article in the Guardian today reported on the existence of unofficial Chinese “police stations” in European cities that are used by China to monitor it's population abroad. Although this was denied by China, it got me thinking about the role of surveillance in China and this post is a collection of materials that explore this topic.

Let's start with a couple of central questions to guide your engagement with the materials;

  1. How extensive is China's monitoring of it's population?

  2. When do you think that is at all acceptable to monitor people movements and actions?


The Materials:

This reportage by Vice News gives an excellent overview of the use of surveillance techniques and their consequences in China. What consequences could this happen on Europe?

The New York Times published the article Four Takeaways From a Times Investigation Into China’s Expanding Surveillance State is a well written overview of how China’s ambition to collect a staggering amount of personal data from everyday citizens is more expansive than previously known.

The last set of materials to look at are a thread of Quora called Are most Chinese OK with living in a surveillance state?, the thread is several years old, so unlikely to be updated again, but gives an interesting insight into how different people on an internet forum put forwards their ideas about this complex topic.

What materials can you find that would help us to understand this phenomena better?


An overview of all of the other sets of materials that I have developed that look at different themes can be found here.

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