In the parks and public squares of China, in the early morning or late afternoon, the grandmothers gather.
The gangs, mostly made up of middle-aged and older women who went through the Cultural Revolution, head to a corner of a local park or sports field and dance in unison to Chinese music. Loud music.
The tradition has sparked alarming clashes, with raucous music often blamed for disturbing the peace in often high-density residential areas. But many are too scared to face women.
The dilemma of the dancing grandmothers has led some to seek technological solutions. One went viral online this week: a remote stun gun-style device that claims to be able to disable a loudspeaker from 50 meters away.
Reviews of the article were positive. “Downstairs it’s finally quiet. For two days, the grandmothers thought their loudspeaker was not working! “Said one on Taobao, the Chinese version of eBay.
“Great invention, with this tool now I will be the head of the neighborhood,” said another. “This is not just a regular product, it is social justice!”
China is home to approximately 100 million dancing grandmothers. The square dance allows older women to socialize, many of whom live alone or with younger relatives whom they accompanied on a move to the cities. They form strong ties, often buying or engaging in other activities, including group investing, together, the South China Morning Post. reported.
The state media has described the square dance, which has its roots in the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s, as a “positive and effective way to reduce the medical and financial burden, as well as to improve the quality of life of the elderly. “.
“Many participants are retired, their children are gone. The square dance becomes a place for them to have a social life. “
But neighbors complain that it has gotten out of control, with rival groups blasting their music over each other in small areas and intimidating those who try to intervene. Viral videos and reports have shown groups arguing and fighting with basketball players. to take over your court, or, in one case, breaking into a soccer field and stopping the game to dance in space, prompting a police response and arrests.
In 2019, the city of Tianjin added new regulations on promoting civilized behaviors, allowing police to fine dancing grandmothers up to 500 yuan (£ 56) if their music is too loud in public.
Some disputes have turned into violence. In Shijiazhuang, Neighbors Fight Grandmothers spread stinky tofu, paint, and motor oil while they dance. A media report described a high-rise resident throwing human feces out of the window at them.
“Most of them are products of the Red Guard era, they do not respect society and the environment,” said a young Chinese resident of Guiyang, who did not want to be named.
“The square dance is a problem that has remained in history. Many older people feel that all of China is built by their generation. They have the absolute voice and status. We young people have not done anything and, of course, we are not qualified to question them ”.
The stun gun and other devices for sale online are part of an emerging market for products to combat noise pollution and prevent interaction. “I tried to contact them once, but the police stopped me,” the Guiyang man said. “They thought I was going to do something bad. You know the golden rule of Chinese politics: the most people matter. Everything is based on social maintenance ”.
Not everything is hostile. Last year, a group in Lanzhou City, Gansu, found a solution that made everyone happy by using Bluetooth headphones, holding his own version of a silent disco.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism