Residents Buy Speakers to Yell At Noisy Public Plaza Dancers

Wenzhou residents purchase loudspeaker system to fight noisy public plaza dancers.


Throughout China, groups of usually older women can regularly be seen gathering in squares, parks, and other empty spaces to dance, usually during the evenings. The leader of the group will bring a portable sound system and speaker to play music while the others line up in rows and follow the dance movements of the leader. In recent years, gatherings near residential buildings have encountered complaints by residents who say their music is too loud. One of the most famous incidents involved human excrement being thrown at a group of dancers by an angry resident.

On popular Chinese web portal NetEase, this is the 4th most commented article of the week. The top 3 are all related to the Wen Zhang infidelity scandal.

From NetEase:

Over 600 Residents Contribute 260,000 Yuan to Buy “Loudspeaker” To Counter Public Plaza Dancing Aunties

Throwing feces, firing warning shots, releasing Tibetan Mastiffs… to fight public plaza dancing, all sorts of strange things have frequently happened in various places.

After multiple attempts at negotiations have failed, the residents of Xinguoguang Residential Plaza in Wenzhou have spent their hard-earned savings. They’ve spent 260,000 yuan to buy a “loudspeaker” to broadcast at the same time as music is played in the plaza. The residents say this is what they’ve resorted to when there are no other recourse.


Plaza dancing aunties forced into retreat by the broadcasted admonishments

“Please comply with the People’s Republic of China Law on the Prevention of Environmental Noise Pollution. Immediately stop illegal behavior!” This phrase echoed in the air above the Songtai Plaza in Wenzhou after a brief burst on the afternoon of March 29th.

The sound had come from the 4th floor terrace of building C of Xinguoguang Residential Plaza across from Songtai Plaza. On the terrace was a shelf of 6 loudspeakers pointed at Songtai Plaza.

Starting from 2pm that day, “the admonishment” was broadcasted until past 5pm that evening. Some of the aunties [older middle-aged women] dancing in the public square could take it no more and one after another went home.


Residents could no longer bear being disturbed by the dancing on the plaza

Xinguoguang Residential Plaza is located in urban Wenzhou city, separated from Songtai Plaza by Xinhe Street.

“When I bought this apartment, it was because I felt the surrounding environment was good being next to the plaza [Songtai],” said residential community committee director Mr. Wu. It has been over ten years since the residential complex was built. Back then, the number of people who participated in public plaza/square dancing were few, but in the recent two years, the problem has gotten worse and worse. “Starting from around 6am in the morning all the way until past 10pm at night, and at its largest, there are several hundred people dancing. The residents’ suffering cannot be put into words.”

One resident says his son will be taking the gaokao college entrance exam this year, but because it is too noisy at home, he moved his son to his elder sister’s home at the end of last year, so his child can study in peace and quiet.

“It’s especially bad for those who work night-shifts, just what are they supposed to do?” Mr. Wu said.

Residents have previously attempted to negotiate [with the aunties] many times, asking them to turn down the volume of the music, but have all been sent “scurrying” back.


The noise has caused the residential neighborhood’s home values to drop

To avoid close-range confrontations, residents thought up “confrontation with long-range speakers”.

In October of last year, led by the residential community committee, the 600-some residents of Xinguaguang Residential Plaza collectively pooled together 260,000 yuan [~42,500 USD] to purchase a set of amplifiers to “counter” the public plaza dancing music.

This set is called a long-range directional amplified broadcasting system and it can broadcast sound concentrated towards one direction, maintaining acoustic intensity.

Such a professional system is normally used to disperse riots and for dispatch vehicles in disasters (earthquakes, floods, etc.). Very rarely is it purchased for private use.

“Some people might think it is very expensive, but compared to the intangible losses we have suffered, it is nothing,” said Mr. Wu. For peace and quiet, residents were very willing to contribute this amount of money.

He calculated that when they originally purchased their homes, each square meter in Xinguoguang Residential Plaza was four to five thousand yuan more expensive than the surrounding residential properties, and now it is difficult to sell even priced three to four thousand cheaper [than surrounding properties]. “Everyone knows it is noisy here.”


Recommendation: Give “power to control the sound/volume” to the government

The relevant government department of Lucheng district [of Wenzhou] once compiled statistics that there are a total of over 900 groups of people organizing public plaza dancing in various plazas. Among them, Songtai Plaza is the most popular, with over 20 groups of people organizing there.

At the start of this year, the Lucheng district government released a “Public Plaza Dancing Public Agreement” that would be jointly enforced by departments such as the public security bureau, environmental protection bureau, and chengguan department.

However, in the eyes of Xinguoguang residents, this hasn’t been effective. This is like a game of cat and mouse. The moment law enforcement come, the aunties will lower the volume but then raise it again once they leave.

From the perspective of victims who have struggled with the public plaza dancing for years, residents offered a suggestion to the government departments: It would be best to divide the plaza into different sections, with public plaza dancing and karaoke in their own section and the park management department uniformly broadcasting the music according to the regulated decibel level. City residents can provide the music to be broadcasted, but cannot bring their own speakers.

Mr. Wu says fighting back [with their own loudspeakers] isn’t the goal, they just want to get the attention of government departments and find a scientific and reasonable resolution to this problem. “If it can’t be resolved, then in the future, when they [play their music], we’ll [broadcast our message].”

Comments from NetEase:

宇宙真理教政委尤里 [网易广西南宁市网友]:

All products of the Cultural Revolution.

网易广西桂林市网友 [牛村长PK毛主义]:

I suggest all the public plaza dancing aunties use wireless headphones, those with FM radio capability. This way they can dance and not affect surrounding residents. What more, FM radios aren’t expensive.

宁二牛 [网易北京市网友]: (responding to above)

Then how are they supposed to demonstrate how niubi they are?

网易广东省深圳市南山区网友 ip:219.134.*.*:

When one is enjoying themselves, one should also be considerate of others. Don’t make it so that in the end it becomes something the masses rise up against… [a public nuisance/enemy]

摸着石头捞鱼 [网易浙江省台州市网友]:

Recommend they broadcast an air-raid siren!!

宇宙真理教政委尤里 [网易广西南宁市网友]:

Recommend they broadcast 《忐忑》 [“Disturbed”, see below].


It’s the same way downstairs where I live. I couldn’t bear the noise, so I had no choice but to join in. Now I’ve already become the dance leader!

网易黑龙江省牡丹江市手机网友 ip:221.206.*.*: (responding to above)

You traitor.

网易浙江省杭州市手机网友 ip:124.160.*.*:

Several decades ago, young people were on public plazas engaging in social dancing, not caring about how they impacted the elderly. Today, the elderly are on public plazas engaging in public plaza dancing, not caring about how they impact the young. Several decades ago, the young Red Guards were beating, smashing, looting, and burning, harming a bunch of elderly people. Now, some elderly are false injuring scamming, extorting people after they fell on their own, harming a bunch of young people… Now think carefully, actually it isn’t that old people have become bad, it is that bad people have become old.

利威尔 [网易广西贵港市手机网友]:

Thirty years ago it was them and thirty years later it is still them. Now they are exploiting their old age, selfish without regard for others, fucking shameless.


I don’t understand what the media is trying to hype by always reporting on the confrontations between public plaza dancing aunties and residents. This is clearly the responsibility of the government, for not establishing special activity centers for the elderly, having TM sold all the sites, instead of providing suitable facilities. We will all slowly become old [so we should be understanding of the aunties].

网易日本手机网友 ip:126.214.*.*: (responding to above)

When you’re old, you won’t be dancing. They’re the bunch of people from the Cultural Revolution, different from you.

网易广东省东莞市手机网友 ip:113.79.*.*:

Well done!


From Sina:

Loudspeakers Purchased by Residents to Fight Back Against Public Plaza Dancing Dismantled, Dancers Promise to Reduce Noise

Beijing News report (Reporter Li Dandan, Intern Fan Xiaojie) — Recently, public plaza dancing has come under criticism, with conflicts occurring between people playing loud music from speakers in public spaces and nearby residents. In the past few days, the matter involving homeowners at Wenzhou’s Xinguoguang Building spending 260k of their own money to buy a loudspeaker system to fight back against the high-decibel music of the public plaza dancing aunties came to an end, with the loudspeaker system having already been dismantled the day before yesterday.

Yesterday, Xinguoguang property management committee director Wu Jiancong said the conflict between the neighborhood’s residents and the public square dancers has gone on for five to six years. The public plaza dancing also developed from first being one hour of calisthenics in the morning every day into “dancing from morning until night”. One of the residents is in the seafood business, working at night, only coming home to sleep at 5am. A little after 6am, just after falling asleep, the people dancing come and begin playing their music. The conflict between residents and members of public plaza dancers have gradually escalated, with arguments and pushing and shoving having happened many times in the past.




Written by Fauna

Fauna is a mysterious young Shanghainese girl who lives in the only place a Shanghainese person would ever want to live: Shanghai. In mid-2008, she started chinaSMACK to combine her hobby of browsing Chinese internet forums with her goal of improving her English. Through her tireless translation of popular Chinese internet news and phenomenon, her English has apparently gotten dramatically better. At least, reading and writing-wise. Unfortunately, she's still not confident enough to have written this bio, about herself, by herself.


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