China’s sports bureaucracy threatened to dance on the square this week. For decades, the government committee has drafted standardized eye exercises for squinting students, aerobics and retirees.
In Chinese cities, this is a common phenomenon – retirees dance in squares and squares, amplifying music. The Chinese government this week sparked a small debate about how to impose standards on people’s dancing. NPR’s Anthony Kuhn reports from Beijing.
ANTHONY KUHN, wired: on Thursday night, three different residents were on the same square outside the shopping center in downtown. Yo fang, in her 50s, is a leader of the local government.
YO FONG :(through translator) we met many sisters and many friends by dancing. I’m very proud of our average age of 60.
Kuhn: the general administration of sport announced this week that future residents will dance to 12 government-approved routines. Some netizens responded that they did not need bureaucrats to unify their homosexuality. The government later clarified that these routines were voluntary and would not be enforced. Yo Fong says it may even use state-specific measures.
Fang :(through translator) we just organize the dance ourselves. As long as the exercise is good, the country does not need too much intervention.
Kuhn: in the group next to you, the dancers turn the ball on the paddle.
Kuhn: “now we begin the second designated routine of Beijing soft ball practice,” the recording said. The group’s head, fan yinghua, 66, said the exercises help prevent everything from paralysis to alzheimer’s.
Fan yinhua :(through translation) regulating the dance in public places is good for people’s health. Of course, we also want to prevent noise pollution.
Kuhn: standardized group exercises are ubiquitous in China. Visit a school and you’ll see kids massaging music in class. Office workers perform group soft exercises outside the company. It was a continuation of the MAO era, when workers lived around their work units. But today’s Chinese society is more individualistic, and no one can be forced to step on stage. Anthony Kuhn, NPR news, Beijing.