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Square dancing aunties will face tougher rules in Beijing

 Women dancing late at night near a residential compound in Beijing. Photo: Credit Greg Baker/Agence France-Presse

A new regulation which will take effect in Beijing next month says the Chinese square dancers, mostly middle-aged and elderly ladies, may face punishment if their activities disturb the life and work of the residents living nearby, according to the China News Service on Wednesday.

The new rules are seen as Beijing’s latest efforts to regulate the controversial Chinese national fitness activity, with most of its critics complaining about the noise made by the loud music. People who severely violate the rule may face administrative penalty, the China News Service cited the new rule as saying, while it didn’t elaborate what the penalties will be.

In fact, the Beijing public security bureau once made it clear in 2015 that those who play loud music during public events and cause noisy disturbances to neighborhoods nearby could get warned or fined.

The square dancing is one of the most well-known Chinese-style outdoor exercises among the Chinese people, especially middle-aged and elderly ladies, also known as dama in Chinese. While the phenomenon of square dancing boomed in the 1990s when more cultural squares were built throughout the country, the square dancing dama became a hot topic on China’s online community and subject of media reports in recent years, with more and more people complaining about the loud music when they gather at public squares in cities across the country.

The Chinese square dancing dama even made headlines in 2013 in the New York City when a 60-year-old Chinese lady was arrested by local police following complaints against a group of dancing team led by the lady for making noises at the Sunset Park, Brooklyn, according to the China Press.

Chinese local governments have also stepped up efforts to regulate the public square dancers across China in recent years.

The Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in southern part of China issued a regulation last year banning dancing and singing with musical instruments or loudspeakers in public from 10pm to 6am.

In Xi’an, capital of Shaanxi province, the use of loud audio equipment is also prohibited between 9pm and 7am in public areas. Individual offenders will face fines of 200 yuan (US$29) and companies who violate the rule will be fined 500 yuan, according to the China News Service.


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