Recently, a company in southeastern China has been accused of installing surveillance cameras in toilet cubicles. This ruse is to catch workers breaking the company’s no-smoking policy.

According to the South China Morning Post, after receiving severe backlash, the subsidiary of state-owned battery manufacturer, China Aviation Lithium Battery, in Xiamen, Fujian province, denied the claims and stated it had called the police.

Three images of three different men show that the men are allegedly hiding in toilet cubicles to smoke and use their mobile phones. 

The news outlet cited an internal file circulating on mainland Chinese social media last week. It reported that the company used the images to warn other staff about violating company policies.

A staff member told Red Star News that the surveillance cameras were set up earlier this year to detect anyone violating the company’s indoor smoking policy.

According to China Business Daily, lawyer Fu Jian of Henan Yulong Law Firm said that no matter the reasons, the company’s installing cameras in toilets has seriously infringed on employees’ privacy rights.

In July, a technology company in Shenzhen was also accused of invading personal privacy. Some netizens even asked if this was in prison. 

The pictures posted on Chinese social media allegedly took place in a company’s office in Shenzhen. The company had installed one-to-one surveillance cameras on top of each workstation in its office. 

Recently, some Chinese citizens seem to be warier about technological intrusion.

According to a CNN News report in 2020, some cities across China once installed surveillance cameras outside people’s homes under quarantine. But, notably, there was no official announcement about it.

Citing a UK-based technology research firm Comparitech report, CNN reported that China has eight of the world’s ten most surveilled cities based on camera numbers per 1,000 people.

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