Toilet paper thieves and face-recognition technology for toilets - SupChina

Toilet paper thieves and face-recognition technology for toilets

  • Elderly Chinese toilet paper thieves face up to their crimes / SCMP
    This story combines several topics of importance in China, from the surveillance state to the poverty and penny-pinching habits of many senior citizens: Authorities have installed facial recognition technology in some public toilets in the capital’s Tiantan Park to stop the widespread theft of toilet paper. To get toilet paper, visitors must stand in front of the dispenser, which has a camera fitted with software that remembers recent faces. The machine will dispense a maximum of 60 cm (23 in.) of paper to the same person within a nine-minute period. According to the original Chinese report on the initiative, the technology will be rolled out in all toilets in Tiantan Park if city residents and tourists react positively to it. If not, other measures will be implemented. On Chinese social media, the machine was ridiculed by one internet user as “cynical installation art.” Another commenter wrote: “It is very likely that in the end, the machine will go missing along with the paper.”
  • Alienation 101 / 1843 Magazine
    The U.S. sees a massive influx of Chinese students landing on its soil every year: There were more than 300,000 of them at American universities in 2016. But hopes that time spent in the U.S. will bring the two countries closer together may not be realized. Brooke Larmer visited the University of Iowa, whose efforts to woo Chinese students have succeeded — 80 percent of its international undergraduate students are Chinese — and found that many of them do not socialize with non-Chinese classmates and “end up floating in a bubble disconnected from the very educational realms they had hoped to inhabit.”

Jeremy Goldkorn

Jeremy Goldkorn worked in China for 20 years as an editor and entrepreneur. He is editor-in-chief of SupChina, and co-founder of the Sinica Podcast.