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China: Around The Nation

Beijing gets tough on noisy, dancing grannies

Fines and detentions to be handed out to people dancing in public areas - often middle-aged and elderly women - found to have created a public nuisance

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 22 February, 2017, 12:29pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 February, 2017, 12:29pm

People in Beijing who square dance to loud music in public places could soon face stiff penalties under a new rule that takes effect from March.

The capital’s revised regulations on national fitness, which were approved last month, stipulate that outdoor exercises organised by groups or individuals should not disturb public order or affect others’ work and living conditions.

People who violate the rule face warnings, fines and detention, according to the Beijing municipal government. It has yet to provide details about the amount of fines or length of detention offenders could face.

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Square dancing - a popular outdoor activity among middle-aged and elderly Chinese people, especially women - has in recent years sparked heated debate in China.

Its critics have complained about the loud music when the dancers gather at public squares in cities across the country.

The Beijing public security bureau made it clear two years ago that those who play loud music during public events and cause noisy disturbances to neighbourhoods nearby could get warned or fined.

The local authorities in the Guangxi region last year banned dancing and singing with musical instruments or loudspeakers in public from 10pm to 6am.

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The use of loud audio equipment is also prohibited between 9pm and 7am in public areas in Xian in Shaanxi province. Offenders face fines of 200 yuan (US$29) for individuals and 500 yuan for companies, according to a report by the news website Chinanews.com.

Sichuan province’s Nanchong bans square dancing in any of the city’s green spaces.