Wuhan housing manager rolls out barbed wire against square dancers

| May 26th, 2014






image courtesy of wuhan times

image courtesy of wuhan times

Despite barbed wire, hazard cones and a make-shift 100-meter long fence, a group of square dancers continued to perform at the entrance of a housing complex Wuhan Times reported on Sunday.

Building residents had apparently been complaining for weeks, property owners said, saying the music distracted students who were trying to study and was a nuisance to families after a long day of work. The building manager asked the dancers to either perform without music or please practice somewhere else, but dancers refused. Desperate, the property owners erected a 100-meter-long fence, hazard cones and surrounded the building in sharp barbed wire in an effort to stop the music on May 23.

At dawn and dusk, dancing, stretching and performing tai-chi is common in China’s public parks. Retirees gather around a tinny-boom box and dance together, often performing impromptu waltzes, tango and square dancing. During China’s communist era, work units often provided a separate place for retirees to exercise, but since Reform and Opening, China’s dancers have been left without a practice space, looking to parks, mall entrances and building compounds for a free place to cha-cha.

But audiences are often reluctant to group’s loud music and low-quality amplifiers.

Recently, angry residents in Chengdu hurled water balloons at the dancers. In Wuhan and Changsha, a crowd threw feces. In November 2013, a Beijing man stood trial for illegal possession of firearms, after shooting a double-barreled shotgun into the air to express his rage at the dancers.

Two days after the Wuhan property owners strung the sharp wire, the square dancers cut it and pushed the cones aside, claiming they have the right to practice in the public space. Local businesses also supported the dancers, and said the barbed wire hurt sales.

8 Comments | Leave a comment | Comment feed

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    “Did you ever see New Delhi?”


    “Well, that’s it. You see what you want to see and you hear what you want to hear.”

    —Nilsson, The Point (1971)

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