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China’s ‘Dancing Grannies’ Anger Stressed-Out Students Ahead of Gaokao Exams

They gather at dusk and dawn to dance, for their good health and social catch ups. But during the most important exams of the year, the rowdy gatherings of China’s ‘dancing grannies’ lead to angered reactions from students with exam stress.

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They gather at dusk and dawn to dance, for their good health and social catch ups. But during the most important exams of the year, the rowdy gatherings of China’s ‘dancing grannies’ lead to angered reactions from students with exam stress.

Square dancing or plaza dancing is a common sight in public spaces like parks or squares across China. It is mostly elderly retired women who meet each other in the mornings and evenings to perform synchronized dance routines together to loud music. For these so-called ‘dancing grannies’, square dancing is both a cheap way to stay fit and a nice occasion to socialize with friends and neighbors.

In the days before the gaokao, China’s national college entrance exams, many square dancers across China decide to skip dancing for some days to give stressed students some silence to study.

For most Chinese students, the gaokao is the most important exam of their lives. Getting a high score might be the ticket to a good job and bright future. The period around these exams is like a national event, with construction workers halting their projects near examination rooms and police cars patrolling the streets to keep things quiet.

In Huizhou, Guangdong, however, some ‘dancing grannies’ were not willing to skip their exercise on June 6 and went ahead with their dancing as usual. A video report by Pear Video about these stubborn dancers drew thousands of angry comments on Weibo.

“The exams are tomorrow, not now, and we need to work out!”, one person told Pear Video reporters in this video clip. Another older man asked the journalists: “Why don’t you take the health of the elderly into consideration, too?!”

Some plaza dancers refuse to stop dancing to give students in the neighbourhood some peace to study. Image via Pear Video.

The video of the Huizhou dancers went viral on Weibo on June 8. Many people are angered with the inconsiderate dancers, saying that elderly people should know better than to be so selfish: “We shouldn’t respect the elderly just because they are old – they did not have to do anything for that -, we only have to respect the good morals and conduct that come with growing old.”

One of the most popular comments said: “I respect the elder but do not respect those without morals, I love young people but don’t like those without teachings”(‘吾敬老不敬无德之老,吾爱幼不爱无教之幼”).

“These are the kind of people who have enough energy to dance during the night, but will make you give up your seat on public transportation during the day so they can sit down,” another person writes.

“Don’t they have grandchildren taking exams, too?”, some wonder.

This is not the first time China’s dancing elders make headlines for their being rowdy and loud. In response to the growing complaints about square-dancing grannies, Chinese authorities started introducing fines and penalties since 2015 for dancers who cause too much nuisance.

On Weibo, bothered students ask: “Grannies, don’t you know how important these exams are to us?”

The topic “Good luck with the exams” (#高考加油#) is the number one trending topic today. “There are a thousand ways to exercise,” one commenter says: “but our college entrance examination is the only way out.”

By Manya Koetse

©2017 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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Manya Koetse is the editor-in-chief of www.whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer and consultant (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends in China, with a focus on social media and digital developments, popular culture, and gender issues. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

China Local News

World’s Largest Terminal: Spectacular Photos of Beijing’s New Airport

The city’s new international airport will be the biggest one in the world.

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Its opening is more than a year from now, but Beijing’s new international airport is already a spectacular sight.

Beijing’s new airport, that is expected to open in fall of 2019, is attracting some attention on Chinese social media lately as construction work on the major airport is speeding up.

A 7,200 tons and 404.5-meter-long roof was placed on the airport’s no.1 hangar earlier this week.

The airport is located in southern Beijing in Daxing (大兴区), and is expected to welcome some 72 million travelers per year in the future. The terminal area will cover some 700,000 square meter.

Photo of the upcoming airport posted on Weibo by @永定河孔雀城

According to Sina News, at most 8000 builders are working on the construction site at the same time.

The terminal building was designed by ADPI in collaboration with, amongst other consultants, Zaha Hadid Architects, who are known for their futuristic structures.

The airport is also called the “alien base” (外星人基地) by some netizens due to its extraordinary size and design.

Dozens of photos of the airport construction site are circulating on Weibo.

Photographer Chou Gui (@chougui17) posted a collection of various photos of the upcoming airport on their Weibo account.

Chinese state media propagate Beijing’s Daxing International Airport as being “100% China-made.” Located in the Daxing district of southern Beijing, it will become an important part of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei city cluster.

You might also like to read: Real-Life Fairy Tale Landscape: Abandoned Fishing Village Houtouwan.

By Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us.

©2018 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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China Local News

Chongqing Man Throws Golden Retriever and Cat from 21st Floor

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A brutal case of pet killing has shocked Chinese social media users this week. On September 6, a man from the Shapingba district of Chongqing threw his golden retriever and a pregnant cat from the 21st floor of an apartment building. Both animals died.

Various Chinese media report that the man supposedly committed the cruel act after learning his wife was pregnant and not wanting her to keep pets in the house while expecting. After an argument with his wife, he allegedly threw the pets out of the window.

Shocked neighbors told reporters that the incident occurred around five o’clock on Thursday, when they heard a loud thump and found the animals on the pavement.

Some neighbours recognized the animals, as their own dog would play with the golden retriever. They called the pet owner, who said he no longer wanted anything to do with the dog and the cat. The neighbors, some crying, later gave the dog and cat a respectful burial.

On Weibo, the hashtag “Man Throws Dog and Cat from 21st Floor” (#男子21楼扔下一猫一狗#) was viewed almost three million times.

Animal cruelty often becomes a topic of debate on Weibo. One of the biggest social media trending cases of animal abuse of the past years is that of the dog Lion, who went missing in December of 2017 and was found by a woman named He Hengli who then blackmailed the dog’s owner over its release.

When the ‘hostage negotiations’ reached a deadlock, the dog’s owner finally went to He’s apartment to fetch her dog together with police offers and reporters. While they knocked the door, Lion was thrown to his death from He’s sixth story apartment.

The story of ‘Lion,’ who was killed by the person who held him ‘hostage’, went viral on Weibo in January 2018.

As in many cases in which animal cruelty has been exposed on social media, Lion’s killer became a target of the so-called ‘human flesh search engine,’ with people leaking her personal information online and threatening her at her workplace and home.

Such cases have previously even led to mob justice, with people dragging abusers out of their homes and beating them.

People often resort to this kind of ‘jungle justice’ because China currently has no laws preventing animal abuse. The voices calling for legal protection of animals in China have gotten louder over the past years.

“I just cannot understand these kinds of people’s way of thinking,” one commenter said: “They now throw a dog, what will they throw next time?”

“[If you no longer want your pets], you could just give them away, instead of cruelly throwing them to their death. Also – if someone would’ve walked there, they might have died, too,” others wrote.

Some write: “If someone mistreats an animal it’s a clear sign they’re abnormal maniacs,” with many others worrying about the future child of the pet killer: “He’s surely not fit to be a father.”

By Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us.

©2018 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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What’s on Weibo provides social, cultural & historical insights into an ever-changing China. What’s on Weibo sheds light on China’s digital media landscape and brings the story behind the hashtag. This independent news site is managed by sinologist Manya Koetse. Contact info@whatsonweibo.com. ©2014-2018

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