The keyword is “??????” – the tool that helps local residents find some peace and quiet when dancing grannies take over their public squares with loud music.

No matter where you go in China, from megacities to small towns, there inevitably will be a lively square dancing community. Local residents, usually older and retired residents, meet at a public park or plaza to perform synchronized dance routines together while playing loud music. Square dancing (???) usually takes place in the mornings or in the evenings and is generally seen as a cheap way to stay fit and as a nice occasion to socialize with friends and neighbors.

Although most appreciate seeing the local ‘dancing grannies,’ there are also residents who find their rowdy gatherings annoying. During the time of national exams, for example, stressed-out students sometimes complain that they cannot focus on their studies due to the music blasting from the speakers. There are also others who are bothered by the music of the local dancing seniors.

This week, China’s ‘dancing grannies’ have again become a topic of discussion on social media after a video went viral in which a local resident in Jiangxi uses a special ‘anti-square dance tool’ to stop the music.

In the video , the man from the prefecture-level city of Yingtan (??) uses a small tool to mute the speakers of the square dancing group who have gathered below his apartment. The man, located in one of the higher apartments facing the square dancing, points his remote at the speakers and once it stops working, the dancing locals stop their activities and walk up and down trying to find out what is wrong with their music player.

Since the device works from a distance of 50-80 meters, anyone using the tool to stop the music won’t easily be discovered by the dancing grannies.

By now, the term ‘anti-square dance magical object’ (“??????”) has been making its rounds on social media, with many netizens saying they also want to get this ‘magical tool.’

As described by Cnbeta.com , the device actually is just a powerful, long-distance remote control that can cause interference with some speakers.

On Chinese e-commerce platform Taobao, searches for the ‘anti-square dance device’ currently come up with dozens of results with remote controls, some advertising their product with the slogan: “Say goodbye to disturbance and have your quiet time.” Most ‘anti square dancing’ remote controls are sold for around 250 yuan ($38).

“Finally there’s a solution!”, some netizens write about the remote control. Others are also happy to discover the device, saying it’s the most peaceful way to create some silence when they experience nuisance; some mention that asking the ‘grannies’ to quiet down only results in being scolded anyway.

Others are jokingly predicting that hot sales of the device might result in a street war between opposing dancing groups silencing each other’s speakers.

There are also people who wonder why China’s square dancing grannies can’t just wear ‘silent disco’ headphones while dancing.

Some people warn users of the remote control that Chinese seniors will always find a way to continue square dancing: “You do this today, tomorrow they’re bringing their accordion!”

By Manya Koetse , with contributions by Miranda Barnes

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