Chinese Police Chief Boasts of Recruiting One in 33 Residents as Informants

The Guardian reports on the recent interview with a police chief about the use of informants:

The director of an inner Mongolian public security bureau said officers had recruited 12,093 of his county’s 400,000 inhabitants to provide intelligence, with the admission offering an unusual glimpse into the state’s surveillance network.

Liu Xingchen told the state news agency Xinhua the priorities were to collect information about conflicts that might lead to complaints to higher authorities and to discover “non-harmonious elements”.

Experts said it was rare to see information on the numbers of informants or public discussion of the network, although detailed accounts of surveillance work are available in documents intended for internal use.

While China’s surveillance network is known to be extensive, it is not clear how active the informants in Kailu County are or how typical the figures are of wider practices.

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