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October 15, 2011

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Party could be over for senior public dances

OLDER people who gather in city parks and streets to sing and dance to recorded music face being told to turn down the volume under a proposed new law.

While these public gatherings are a popular social scene among seniors, the partying can sometimes continue until midnight, leading to complaints from neighbors.

Under the draft law proposed by the Shanghai government, participants at gatherings on local streets, squares, parks and other public places will not be allowed to use sound systems to play music or make addresses.

Organizers can use smaller, portable equipment, provided they agree with supervisors of the public venues on the duration of their gatherings and limit the volume. This information must be published nearby to inform residents.

According to the draft, anyone who ignores the regulations faces a fine ranging from between 200 yuan (US$31) and 500 yuan by police.

Currently, complaints about noisy seniors fall on deaf ears as there are no specific regulations banning them from playing loud music in public.

The city government says it receives about 100,000 complaints about noise each year - 48 percent of total complaints about environmental pollution.

More than half of these complaints are about noise from parties, factories or pubs in residential areas.

The proposed legislation will fill gaps in the city's noise control regulations issued in 1986, the draft says.

It also proposes that new pubs and karaoke venues should not be permitted next to residential buildings, and that the cutting of metals, wood and stone be banned in the city's central areas.

Those plagued by noise can report directly to neighborhood committee offices or sue the noise makers in court, the draft says.

The draft document can be viewed in Chinese at

Responses should be e-mailed to before November 4.


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