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Big brother hampers number one

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Mass surveillance, a widespread phenomenon in China, has impacted a Kunming resident in an unlikely way: an anonymous man called the Yunnan Net news hotline on Tuesday to report that a security camera was making it difficult for him to urinate.

A reporter sent to Heping Cun discovered the problem to be a video camera that was recently installed on a wall above the urinal in the men's room of a public toilet.

The camera does not actually point toward the urinals, but is used by local police to monitor an alley running next to the public toilet. Nevertheless, it is a source of consternation among some men who have trouble urinating in its presence.

Although the original caller remains anonymous, the reporter soon found a man surnamed Cai who commiserated with the caller's micturation situation.

"As soon as I see it I become uncomfortable," said Cai. "I feel like it's looking at me and I can't urinate."

An elderly female bathroom attendant said there had been a number of complaints about the camera.

Severe cases of "stage fright" are considered to be a psychological disorder known as paruresis.

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Damn things inhibit us all from being who we are - which, I think, is the point.

But both males and females will urinate in the street in broad daylight. Go figure.

But not all males and females will.

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