Failed police manhunt for Changchun baby murderer brings CCTV surveillance under fire

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 March, 2013, 8:28am
UPDATED : Thursday, 07 March, 2013, 1:03pm

After 3,500 cops were unable to find either Zhou Xijun, the vehicle he stole or the baby he murdered during a 40-hour citywide manhunt in Changchun earlier this week, public anger has turned toward the city's costly and apparently somewhat useless network of CCTV surveillance cameras.

Borrowing a quote from a slamming article published by Caijing yesterday, writer Xu Shaolin asks:

Changchun spent 140 million yuan [HK$174.6 million] on building its fiery eye-in-the-sky project - a blind eye, as it turned out in this case. Netizens want to know: If the vehicle was stolen around 7am and driven to Gongzhuling by just after 8am, with a few thousand police searching blindly in the city, the car recovered only after a citizen found it and called police, and with a suspect who turned himself in, where was the so-called eye-in-the-sky during all this? It catches almost everyone who runs a red light, so does the eye only see when used against the public it should instead be protecting? 

According to Xinhua, China Unicom won the contract to build phase 2 of Changchun's "skynet", designed to provide blanket surveillance of the city with cameras in every building and at every intersection.

Construction began in August 2010 with a timeline of three years, and at present 58,000 of the network's eventual total of 60,000 cameras - some of which, Caijing writes, were provided by equipment manufacturer ZTE, are in operation.