It's easy to associate surveillance cameras with Big Brother — to imagine that governments would use them to keep track of your every move. But in China, ordinary citizens are using that footage to pressure government officials to act appropriately.

Smile, you're on candid camera

One week ago today, Chinese official Yan Linkun and his family had missed their second flight of the day. Airport staff wouldn't let them through the gate. In response, Linkun flew into a rage, smashing the airport's computers and attempting to break down the glass doors standing in his way. Though a previous incident at the same airport was met with pepper spray, airport security merely stood and watched the official's behavior.

However, the whole incident was captured on video, spreading virally across the web:

Now, the Shanghai Daily reports that Yan Linkun has been suspended from his post as vice chairman of a mining company, and will face punishment from his local political body as well.

Linkun's not the only one to face public ridicule across the web and subsequent loss of position. Yang Dacai, aka "Watch-Wearing Brother," was reportedly ousted from his post last September, after social media hounds found photographs of the official wearing luxury watches that were allegedly too expensive for his salary. The mayor of a small city lost his job after blog posts accused him of having 47 mistresses. In November, another official was sacked after a sex tape leaked online.

The Guardian and Businessweek highlight a number of recent cases where internet users are taking officials to task. Read about them at our source links.