• An elderly Chinese lady exercising with others at a park in Beijing, China. (AP)Source: AP
Elderly dancers who take to public spaces to perform are facing a backlash in Beijing, China, with local authorities now fining performers found to have disturbed the public order, while enforcing approved routines and songs they can use.
By
Sam Carroll

10 Mar 2017 - 12:08 PM  UPDATED 10 Mar 2017 - 12:08 PM

Outdoor squares, parks and plazas in China are often occupied by older folk, predominantly women, meeting up and performing synchronised dance or fitness routines in an effort stay healthy and socialise with others in their community.

A report by China Daily estimates that there are over 100 million 'outdoor square dancers' across the nation, mostly aged 40 and over, who spend their time and money on the hobby. Many attend dance classes, dress up in traditional outfits and buy elaborate fans to use in their public square dance routine. 

But unfortunately for these dancers, not everyone agrees that dancing is the best use of public space. CNN reports that some Beijing locals are against the older women dancing in the squares, branding them a public nuisance. 

The dances, often performed in tandem with exceedingly loud music, have also lead to several residents to release their dogs and throw faeces at performers.

People perform square dance to make a Guinness World Record with dancers in other 13 cities on November 7, 2016 in Zhengzhou, China.

In an effort to counteract the rambunctious retirees, local authorities are enforcing regulations designed to keep the public order.

From March 1, Beijing authorities now have the right to fine dancers who disturb the public order.

Regulations have been introduced in Beijing stating: "people must organise fitness activities without disturbing public order," according to a government website. Meanwhile, the site (translated) states that "fitness organisations must "guide members to [be] orderly and scientific and civilized," when performing fitness-based activities. 

Parks: Sites of public disturbance or a place of community activity?

One local park has gone as far as to install noise monitors after locals complained about the noise.

Dubbed the "Nosiest Park in the World", Chengdu's People's Park is renowned for its variety of performers who are now forced to perform at levels below 80 decibels.

A resident living outside of the park wrote to the local council stating that while they recognised the need for the elderly to stay active, they questioned the consistent noise created by the dancers.

"The elderly want to have their own life entertainment [and] I do not oppose, after all, I [will be] old one day... [however I ask] the relevant leaders as soon as possible to [stop] the people's daily noise pollution," the statement reads.

The country also has a population aging faster than anywhere else in the world - by 2030 there will be an estimated 360 million Chinese over the age of 60, only adding to the problem the government is facing in finding public spacing for the elderly to stay fit.

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