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VOA: Why Does the Chinese Government Support This Controversial Public Dancing?

Since 1999, when the Communist China started to suppress popular Qigong meditation exercises, the authorities have been promoting a new type of exercise called “Square Dancing” in China. The purpose was to replace Qigong. The songs and music that loudly accompany the dancing are revolutionary red songs which were popular during the ten year period of the Cultural Revolution and which had the effect of brainwashing people with Communist ideas and fervor. The children and young people during the Cultural Revolution period are now old people. Many elderly Chinese women love to dance in masses every evening in public squares in tune with the thundering red songs.  

On December 12, 2015, a group of men had a big fight with a group of what has come to be called the “square dancing grannies” in Shanghai. The men refused the women’s demand to move away their cars, which were parked next to the restaurant. Several square dancing grannies were injured.

The high volume of noise from the square dances severely disturbs the nearby residents’ daily life. Few people want to buy the residential apartments near the places where the grannies hold their square dancing, even at the reduced price of 120,000 Chinese yuan (US$18,510) lower than the regular price.

In March of 2015, the Chinese authorities decided to set up guidelines to regulate square-dancing across the country, such as the dance movements, permissible times, and the volume of music. However, the authorities still encourage Square Dancing, even though more and more people find its craziness annoying.  

Sources: VOA, Guangming Daily,, March – December of 2015