What are your most important tech tools for reporting in Shanghai, especially with a government known for surveillance?
In China, evading the watchful eyes of the government sometimes feels like an exercise in futility. The place is wired with about 200 million surveillance cameras, Beijing controls the telecom companies, and every internet company has to hand over data when the police want it. They also know where journalists live because we register our address with police. In Shanghai, the police regularly come to my apartment; once they demanded to come inside.
That said, China is big, and the government less than competent. Sometimes the police who come to my door have no idea I’m a journalist. Usually the higher-ups who deal with my visa don’t know about the house visits. The lack of coordination means one of the best things to do is to try to slip through the cracks. Basically, protect yourself but also leave an innocent trace.