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Zebra crossing | © hans-johnson/Flickr
Zebra crossing | © hans-johnson/Flickr

How Beijing's Dancing Grannies Are Tackling Road Safety

Picture of Anastasiia Ilina
Updated: 30 May 2017

What could bring school kids, grannies and police officers to dance a choreographed routine in the middle of the street? In fact a very important cause, aimed to make cities in China rid of irresponsible drivers and pedestrians. They are dancing against jaywalking, an issue in big cities, where traffic is mostly hectic and people always in a rush.

The song is very simple and frankly quite catchy. The chorus is basically composed of two words: (等灯)which means ‘wait for the light’ to warn jaywalkers and rogue drivers against ignoring red lights. The ongoing campaign has been supported by volunteers – in many cases children – running onto the street during a red light and dancing for the drivers to make sure they don’t endanger pedestrians. On the other hand, the video warns pedestrians against ignoring traffic rules and encourages them to ‘wait a little longer, and be happy for a lifetime’(多等一会儿,幸福一生).

Campaign banner | © People’s Daily

The campaign is fairly reasonable, the cause worthy, but why enlist dancing grannies to perform in full make-up and embroidered leotards? Well, the phenomenon is not at all surprising to your average Chinese viewer. Dancing middle-aged women, often joined by their husbands, can be seen in any Chinese city, large or small. This type of square dancing or line dancing, is in fact an exercise routine and a social activity that involves little cost or physical duress. Social groups, like the one in the video, gather in the early morning or late at night in parks and squares, blast on some music and do run-throughs of their routine, similar to the one seen in the video. Simple, fun and easy to follow.

The dancing grannies | © People's Daily

The dancing grannies | © People’s Daily

Whether the campaign is successful or not, is hard to judge just yet. Many other campaigns have attempted to address the issue, but have so far failed. At least in this video the pedestrians seem to get the point.

Obedient pedestrians | © People’s Daily