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Surveillance cameras removed from Beijing high school male toilets after backlash

They had been installed without warning, apparently to catch students breaking the rules

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 June, 2017, 2:17pm
UPDATED : Friday, 23 June, 2017, 2:17pm

A school in Beijing has decided to remove surveillance cameras from its male toilets after complaints from students and parents, according to a Chinese media report.

The presence of the cameras came to light after a photo emerged online claiming to show a camera in a male toilet at the Chaoyang district campus of Tsinghua High School, news portal 163.com reports.

“It’s too embarrassing. I don’t want to use the toilet again,” the person who posted the photo online, who is believed to be a student at the school, was quoted as saying in the report.

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Another student, surnamed Zhao, told the news portal that cameras had also been spotted in bathrooms located in the male dormitory at the school.

The school apparently made no announcement before installing the cameras, and Zhao said it appeared that even teachers did not know about them until the students found out and complained.

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But according to one teacher, the cameras were useful for catching students breaking school rules. “Many students [start] smoking at this age so we hope to keep an eye on them by using cameras to monitor the toilets,” the teacher was quoted as saying.

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The surveillance cameras could also help to reduce fights and violence at the school, the teacher said.

“The cameras could capture evidence in cases of bullying”.

School officials meanwhile said that only the male principal of the school had access to the surveillance footage to protect students’ privacy, but since many students and parents were against the idea it had decided to remove the cameras.

Tsinghua High School is a secondary school affiliated to one of the mainland’s top colleges, Tsinghua University.