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Woman Goes to Beach on Holiday in China, Shocked at What She Finds

by Staff

A video showing the prevalence of security cameras on a beach in Hainan, an island province in southern China, has gone viral on TikTok.

The clip was posted by Louise (@louiserct on TikTok and Instagram) and has received 6.5 million views since it was shared four days ago.

Louise is a 22-year-old French exchange student studying at a business school near Shanghai (she did not share her last name). She told Newsweek that she is on vacation in Hainan with her friends. The footage was captured at Haitang Bay on the tropical island, located “all the way in the south, near Vietnam, which explains the great weather,” she said.

A message overlaid on the video reads: “POV [point of view] you’re at the beach in China OF COURSE there are security cameras every 50 meters [164 feet].”

The footage shows a woman sitting across from the ocean waves on a sandy beach dotted by several lampposts with what appears to be camera devices at the top.

Screen grabs from a video show security cameras on a beach on the island province of Hainan in southern China, as captured by Louise, a French exchange student.

(@louiserct on TikTok

“The beach experience in China is truly interesting. So many things are different from my Western culture,” Louise said. She was “surprised” by “the numerous security cameras on the beach.”

“I think it’s important to note I wasn’t complaining about these security cameras,” she added. “China is a very strict and surveilled country, but this does bring a great security in the country that I much appreciate.”

The security cameras on the Hainan beach are not surprising as China is “a major driver of AI surveillance worldwide,” according to a September 2019 report by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, an international affairs think tank.

The report found that technology linked to Chinese companies—such as Huawei, Hikvision, Dahua and ZTE—supply AI surveillance technology to 63 countries, 36 of which have signed on to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

“Huawei alone is responsible for providing AI surveillance technology to at least 50 countries worldwide. No other company comes close,” the report said.

Launched in 2013, BRI is China’s $1 trillion infrastructure funding program that provides loans to countries for building roads, railways and other infrastructure. The program is considered an alternative to U.S.-led financial institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Last October, the life expectancy of BRI—Chinese President Xi Jinping‘s signature infrastructure program, which marked its 10th anniversary that month—came into question amid a drop in investments and a slowing Chinese economy.

‘Safe’ vs. ‘Creepy’

A caption shared with the TikTok clip reads: “We’re at the beach in China of course we aren’t allowed to swim in the ocean.”

Louise, who first arrived in China in January, noted this was her first time in Hainan.

A message across the video says “lifeguards patrolling,” and the footage shows a person driving what appears to be an all-terrain vehicle along the beach before the clip ends.

Louise told Newsweek: “You weren’t allowed to swim on this beach because there was a strong wind and current in the water and in China, security is a priority. On all beaches there are designated areas to swim, areas that have a good surveillance and lifeguards.”

The clip has sparked discussion on TikTok, with some users praising the presence of the cameras.

User @tweety3.14 noted: “That would make me feel safe tbh [to be honest].”

Dontholdback wrote: “Nice, so you can leave your stuff without worries, when going for a swim.”

User @its.just.me.josh said: “I mean…I’d feel safe.” PastramiSandwhich69 said it was “Kinda smart.”

Others were less convinced, such as Conscious_Memes, who said it felt like “Big Brother watching.”

Tara wrote: “The amount of cameras in China is creepy.”

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