Hidden cameras as technology have caused a lot of concern over the last few years, but they’ve also done their fair share of good. Case in point includes the many different ways that hidden cameras are used in investigative journalism, both with actual members of the press and “citizen reporters” around the world.

Hotel Hidden Camera

Another example of this recently played out in China, where a number of hotels are currently being subjected to intense investigations by authorities after an alarming hidden camera video was posted online.

Chinese Hotels and Cleaning Practices: Here’s What Happened

Earlier in 2018, a nearly 12-minute video was posted online that revealed what is really going on behind the scenes of several major international hotels located in China. Fourteen different locations in three provinces appear in the video, but the end result is always the same: Workers were using soiled towels to clean cups and glasses along with other questionable practices that would make your average traveler squirm.

The footage ― conducted over a period of several weeks ― really runs the gamut in terms of unacceptable practices. One portion of the clip shows a hotel maid wiping down a glass with the bottom part of the cleaning uniform that she’s wearing. In another, several workers are shown using the same towel to wipe down, not only sinks, but also coffee cups and drinking glasses.

The video itself was posted by an activist blogger from China who goes by the name Huazong online. He posted it on Weibo, which is a bit like the Chinese version of the popular social networking site Twitter. He says that this problem is “longstanding and widespread,” and it is indeed something he has noticed over and over again during his travels over the years. It’s important to note that as an activist, he claims that he’s spent more than 2,000 different nights at nearly 150 hotels over the last six years.

In the short time since the video was posted, it has already been viewed more than 30 million times. Huazong notes that the video was not created in an attempt to call out any one particular worker, or even one specific hotel chain. Instead, he hopes to bring attention to a problem that is widespread throughout the industry and one that can be affecting travelers in a wide range of different ways that many don’t even realize.

His video HAS already caught the attention of Chinese authorities, who almost immediately launched an investigation into several of the hotel locations featured in the video. CCTV, a state broadcaster in China, recently featured a report covering this action in great detail. They showed footage of uniformed inspectors showing up at one of the hotels featured in the original clip, showing ID cards and inspecting drinking glasses and other items.

One of the infamous hotels is the Peninsula in Beijing, which released a statement saying that they were cooperating with on-site examinations from food and drug administration officials. In all likelihood, it’s because the results were overwhelmingly positive ― despite their new notoriety, the cups tested were actually cleaner than the standards required. They were sent to an off-site lab for additional testing, and Peninsula officials say that they welcome as much activity from authorities as required.

Their statement read: “Our hotel will still take measures to strengthen the implementation of the standard procedures for room service staff to ensure all aspects meet the established standards of the Peninsula.” At this time, there hasn’t been much written about the results from some of the other hotels featured in the original clip. At this point, one has to ask the question ― were these merely isolated incidents, or did the Peninsula just get lucky? Likewise, it’s important to note that the original activist does go by a pseudonym ― his real identity is hidden. Does he have an agenda of his own?

One thing is for sure ― you can chalk this up to another “win” for the power of modern technology. If nothing else, it’s an example of the fact that it is still possible to hold people accountable ― even if those people think that they’re breaking the rules far, far away from prying eyes.