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Watching the Watchers

July 21, 2011

“Doormen” Who Get Paid by the State. Shanghai, October 30, 2010. Photo by Jin Yuehua.

Photographer’s Note: The Minhang District authorities in Shanghai turned my home into a prison. The policemen kept watch 24 hours a day to prevent me from going to Beijing to petition.

Editors’ Note: Jin Yuehua became a petitioner and housing rights activist after the Minhang District authorities demolished her family property in 2000 — which included the family home and businesses — without giving her family adequate compensation. She has petitioned different levels of government. As an activist, Jin helps others draft and file petitions and provides food to out-of-town petitioners traveling to Beijing. She is regarded by the authorities as a troublemaker. She is routinely put under 24-hour surveillance during “sensitive” periods such as the months leading up to the May 2010 opening of the Shanghai Expo.

Police in Front of My Home. Shanghai, February 19, 2010. Photo by Jin Yuehua.

Photographer’s Note: Neighborhood security personnel outside my home 24 hours a day.

Editors’ Note: Local public security bureaus often hire unemployed people in the neighborhood to carry out surveillance duties.

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