“Stand up! Those who refuse to be slaves!
With our flesh and blood, let’s build our newest Great Wall!
Braving the enemies’ fire, march on!
March on! March on! on!”
It was midnight in China’s southwestern city of Chongqing. The melody of the Chinese national anthem – spirited and fiery – rose from a crowd of hundreds of students who had their fists in the air. More were marching around the campus, chanting and singing.
Next to a dormitory building, two security guards pinned down a student holding a huge black flag that read “EDG.” Instead of resisting, the student appeared content to lie down on the ground, but still held the flagpole tightly with his legs to keep it upright. An onlooker off-camera applauded, “His body fell, but the flag won’t fall!”
Hold on a bit if you think this is another nationalist protest in China. No, students were celebrating the victory of EDG (Edward Gaming), an eSports team funded by Chinese real estate developer Hopson, at the League of Legends World Championship in Reykjavík, Iceland. On Chinese video-sharing platform bilibili.com, the livestream of the game’s final round – which took place around 12:30 a.m. Beijing time on November 7 – attracted more than 550 million audience members at its peak, accounting for about one third of China’s population. Young people all over the country went crazy at EDG’s victory, with students screaming out of joy from their dormitory rooms and thousands of people shouting “EDG Bravo!” (”EDG 牛逼!”) on the street. Interspersed with the frenzied celebrations were confused complaints of the middle-aged: “I don’t care who EDG is. I just want to sleep.”
The victory of EDG was so huge that they received almost immediate congratulation from China’s state media CCTV on Weibo. The hashtag “EGD wins”(#EDG夺冠#), created by CCTV, received nearly 1 billion views within one hour. Just two months ago, however, it was also CCTV that announced the government’s latest regulations of video games, which, dubbed as “anti-addiction” measures, limit the time under-18s can spend on gaming to three hours per week, making it the most strict governmental regulation on gaming in the world.
To some extent, the wavering position CCTV took in regards to eSports and gaming mirrors the dilemma that the Chinese …….