Video of couple's kiss sparks privacy debate

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 January, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 January, 2008, 12:00am

Sex, lies and videotape are sparking a nationwide debate over privacy after a video of an amorous couple caught kissing by a surveillance camera in a Shanghai subway station made its way onto the internet.

The man and woman, both aged 25, are contemplating whether to take the metro operator to court for violating their privacy.

The clip has been viewed more than 100,000 times after being posted on websites such as and As the grainy footage plays, four voices from two men and two women - believed to be metro employees - can be heard making off-colour comments in the Shanghai dialect. The man in the clip said the metro company had shown a positive attitude but would not make a clear commitment on how it would deal with the complaint.

'They claimed to have punished two employees, but I'll still discuss with my girlfriend and family to find a proper way to solve it,' he said yesterday. 'A legal solution is possible.'

Reached for comment yesterday, the Shanghai Shentong Metro Group said: 'We will give a reply soon via official channels.'

The three-minute video captured the young couple in a prolonged embrace, kissing goodbye at the entrance of a Shanghai metro station.

The man said he was furious and embarrassed after viewing the footage. He learned about its wide circulation on the internet from friends. He said he had resigned from his job because of pressure and made a living by teaching part time. His girlfriend, who kept her post in a company, was depressed, he said.

'This is not a case about an individual but a social phenomenon. I hope people can raise their awareness of how to protect their privacy.'

Shanghai has installed security cameras in public areas such as metro stations, roads, banks and supermarkets in an effort to ensure public safety and prevent crime. But the issue has now sparked worries about privacy among local residents.

Wu Wenyi, a 24-year-old office worker, said she was shocked by the case.

'The government claimed to be guaranteeing our safety by using the system, but now it turned out to have a contrary effect.'