In 2017, China's spending on domestic security was estimated to be $197 billion, excluding spending on "security-related urban management and surveillance technology initiatives."
In 2010, domestic security expenditure exceeded spending on external defense for the first time. By 2016, domestic security spending surpassed external defense by 13 percent.
In January 2014, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television announced that real names would be required of users who wished to upload videos to Chinese web sites. The agency explained that the requirement was meant to "prevent vulgar content, base art forms, exaggerated violence and sexual content in Internet video having a negative effect on society."
As part of a broader surveillance push, the Chinese government encouraged the use of various mobile phone apps. Local regulators launched mobile apps for "national security" purposes and to allow citizens to report violations, "which is a way for residents to conduct social supervision," according to a commentary in the Global Times.
The government is also developing a Social Credit System that rates the trustworthiness of its citizens by analyzing their social behaviors and collecting fiscal and government data. Participation in the system will be mandatory by 2020.
In Tibet, users of mobile phones and the Internet must identify themselves by name. In June 2013, the government reported that the programme had reached full realisation. An official said that "the real-name registration is conducive to protecting citizens' personal information and curbing the spread of detrimental information". More than 100 Tibetans had self-immolated for political reasons.
In December 2013, the Vice Minister of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology asked China Telecom, a major landline and mobile telephone company, to put a real name registration scheme into effect and to "regulate the dissemination of objectionable information over the network" in 2014.
The government of China has installed over 20 million surveillance cameras across the country. According to official statistics in 2012, more than 660 of the mainland's 676 cities use surveillance systems. In the Guangdong province alone, 1.1 million cameras had been installed in 2012, with plans to increase the number to 2 million by 2015 at a predicted cost of 12.3 billion yuan. By 2020, the Chinese government expects to integrate private and public cameras, leveraging the country's tech industry's expertise in facial recognition technology to build a nation-wide surveillance network.
Officials said that in the four years up to 2012, 100,000 crimes had been solved with the aid of the cameras. However, a critic said that "one of the most important purposes of such a smart surveillance system is to crack down on social unrest triggered by petitioners and dissidents". In 2013, it was reported that the government saw the severe atmospheric pollution in Chinese cities as a security threat, because the CCTV cameras were being rendered useless.
In 2011, the Beijing Municipal Science & Technology Commission proposed a mobile phone tracking programme, to be called the Information Platform of Realtime Citizen Movement, which was ostensibly intended to ease traffic flow on the city's streets.
[...] Mr. Shang made four requests for the work in 2014: [...] To bolster network information security by diligently implementing the telephone customer real name registration system and protecting the privacy of customer personal information while coordinating with relevant authorities to regulate the dissemination of objectionable information over the network to ensure a secure and reliable network environment.