Square-dance and basketball battle causes furor

Updated 2017-06-07 17:30:10 Xinhua
A group of elderly people quarrel with several young basketball players over the use of a basketball court.

A group of elderly people quarrel with several young basketball players over the use of a basketball court.

A battle for use of a basketball court, between a group of elderly dancers and young basketball players, has exposed loopholes in the urban management of Chinese cities.

The debate sparked when a video showing a group of elderly people quarreling with several young men went viral on the Chinese Internet. In the video, the senior citizens lashed out at the young men over use of the basketball court in a local park. The heated argument soon broke into a physical fight.

Police confirmed the incident was in Luoyang city, central China's Henan Province.

"Some square-dancing elderly and a posse of basketball players had a quarrel, which broke into a fight, over the use of the basketball court on May 31," local police said. "They reconciled after the incident."

The park later closed the court and provided another area for the elderly group, but public debate flared nevertheless.

A number of Internet users defended the basketball players, saying that the elderly group crossed the line, not only by occupying the basketball court but also hitting a young man physically. Others showed sympathy for the dancers, saying a lack of areas for square dancing in Chinese cities was a major issue.

China's population is aging, with the Ministry of Civil Affairs saying that more than 220 million Chinese were over 60 by the end of 2016. The government predicts the country's elderly will account for about one-quarter of the population by 2030.

This highlights a rising need for rest and recreation programs among senior citizens. In China, square dancing has become a major daily activity among graying Chinese. But as the elderly bust their moves, a spate of conflicts has erupted across the nation

In 2014, after failing to reach reconciliation, residents in a district in eastern China's Zhejiang Province went toe-to-toe with a group of square dancers, by using loudspeakers worth 260,000 yuan (38,266 U.S. dollars) to blast out music day-and-night to drown them with noise.

A similar incident happened in a district in Fujian Province in 2016, causing police to be called.

In 2014, the historic Luxun Park in Shanghai reopened to the public after renovation, drawing a large number of elderly dancers. Rival exercise groups tried to snap up dancing squares, creating chaos and fights in the park.

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