Britain has one and a half times as many surveillance cameras as communist China, despite having a fraction of its population, shocking figures reveal.
There are 4.2million closed circuit TV cameras here, one per every 14 people.
But in police state China, which has a population of 1.3billion, there are just 2.75million cameras, the equivalent of one for every 472,000 of its citizens.
Simon Davies from pressure group Privacy International said the astonishing statistic highlighted Britain's 'worrying obsession' with surveillance.
'Britain has established itself as the model state that the Chinese authorities would love to have,' he said.
'As far as surveillance goes, Britain has created the blueprint for the 21st century non-democratic regime.
'It was not intended but it has certainly been the consequence.'
It is estimated that Britain has 20 per cent of cameras globally and that each person in the country is caught on camera an average of 300 times daily.
The Chinese Government revealed the number of cameras it has as it announced plans to expand CCTV surveillance.
It began widespread installation of cameras in 2003 to bolster its system of extreme state control which hails back to the dark days of Chairman Mao Zedongs Cultural Revolution.
The government also deploys millions of security personnel, which include uniformed, official security guards who work along side police, patrolling the streets and others who bug phones, scour the internet for sensitive material and block international TV news bulletins.
China's Public Security Ministry said in the news release that its cameras are the most visible components of police surveillance and notification systems installed around the country.
Most of the cameras are in urban areas, with 265,000 in the capital Beijing alone, but the government said it plans to expand the use of security cameras in the countryside.
It said the increase would 'put the safety of the broad masses of the people first and foremost.'
It also intends to combine surveillance cameras with new face recognition software, which has raised concerns about how the equipment will be used. It is not clear how many surveillance cameras in China use such software.
Figures released today showed that in Britain the number of Big Brother snooping missions by police, town halls and other public bodies has soared by 44 per cent in two years.
One request is made every minute for officials to spy on someone's phone records or email accounts.
Last year there were 504,073 new cases - an average of 1,381 a day. It is the equivalent of one adult in 78 coming under state-sanctioned surveillance under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000. (Daily Mail, 8.10.2009, Tom Kelly)
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