Smile, you’re on Big Brother reality TV – China’s latest top news

Jeremy Goldkorn’s selection of the top stories from China on August 10, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina newsletter, a convenient package of China’s business, political, and cultural news delivered to your inbox for free. Subscribe here.

Watching them watch us

The Wall Street Journal reports (paywall) on a new film by influential Chinese artist Xu Bing 徐冰 that was produced entirely from footage downloaded from Chinese websites that allow users to watch feeds from thousands of surveillance cameras in various locations around China. There is an extraordinary amount of such footage available to the public, both because there are so many cameras, and also because of what the Journal calls “relaxed popular attitudes toward privacy.”

Titled “Dragonfly Eyes” (蜻蜓之眼 qīngtíng zhī yǎn), Xu’s film tells “the story of an ill-fated romance between a young woman who works on a dairy farm and a technician who watches her through the farm’s surveillance system.” You can see clips from the film and an interview with Xu by the Journal here.

Alibaba’s ‘cashless week’ alarms the central bank

The last seven days were “cashless week” — a promotional event by Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial to raise awareness and encourage use of its digital payment services. Apparently in response to fears that the promotion would make stores and consumers reject cash payments, the People’s Bank of China — the country’s central bank — issued a notice to regional offices, saying that “some of the promotion themes and actions have interfered with the normal currency flow of the yuan,” and “created misunderstandings among the public.” The notice asked branches of the central bank to tone down promotion of “cashless week” events.

Quartz has details and a full translation of the notice

How China came to dominate electronic sports

Electronic sports, or e-sports, are video game competitions that are promoted and broadcast like physical sports. Last week we noted a report indicating that e-sports became a market worth $3 billion in China in 2016. That’s Beijing has published a feature on how China came to dominate the global e-sports arena.