Chinese city apologises after 'shaming' people for wearing pyjamas in public

CCTV images of residents shared online by government officials 

Sarah Young
Tuesday 21 January 2020 13:28 GMT

Government officials in China have apologised for “shaming” people for wearing pyjamas in public.

On Monday, photos of a number of residents in Suzhou, Anhui province, wearing their pyjamas while walking in the community were published on a WeChat account operated by the local government.

The officials stated that the people were being identified as part of an initiative to “expose uncivilised behaviours and improve citizens’ quality”.

The online images, which were caught by surveillance cameras, included information such as the person’s name and ID card number.

Officials argued that residents were banned from wearing pyjamas in public because the region was entering a national “civilised city” competition.

Other “bad behaviour” exposed by the local government online included “lying [on a bench] in an uncivilised manner” and handing out advertising flyers.

While the images shared were captured by CCTV cameras, of which there an estimated 170m in China, residents were also encouraged to send in photos of anyone partaking in “uncivilised behaviours”.

Following media attention and criticism online, the message was deleted and the Suzhou authorities issued a public apology.

“We wanted to put an end to uncivilised behaviour, but of course we should protect residents' privacy,” officials said in a statement, according to the BBC.

The officials added that they would, in future, blur people’s faces out of the images instead.

Last year, it was revealed that researchers in China had developed an ultra-powerful camera capable of identifying a single person among stadium crowds of tens of thousands of people.

Surveillance systems in China have become highly advanced in recent years
Surveillance systems in China have become highly advanced in recent years (Reuters)

The 500-megapixel camera was developed by scientists at Fudan University, in conjunction with Changchun Institute of Optics from the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The resolution of the camera is said to be five-times more detailed than the human eye and was built for surveillance purposes, with Chinese state media praising the camera’s “military, national defence and public security applications”.

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