Wednesday, May 13, 2009

S. China City axes plans to ban pole dancing

DONGGUAN, Guangdong: Karaoke clubs and bar owners in this industrial hub were celebrating Monday after a potential ban on pole dancing was deleted from a new regulation.

Bosses had feared the worst when an initial draft of a new local government rule for entertainment and recreational venues barred the performances.

But the move was scrapped for the final version, which was released at the weekend.

"The initial draft to disallow pole dancing aimed to nip erotic performances in the bud," said an official surnamed Wei at the culture, broadcasting and press bureau. "But we've found no law in China that forbids pole dancing, so we decided to delete the very stipulation."

The new regulation will be in force for five years and the U-turn over the ban will be a massive boon for entertainment companies in the city, which is in Guangdong province, an area already seriously affected by the global financial crisis.

Liang Shao'ai, who runs a karaoke bar in nearby Chang'an town, was ecstatic.

He told China Daily Monday: "Pole dancing is very popular among the youth here. If the performances were not allowed our business would definitely be hit.

"Pole dancing is not an erotic performance. It is a healthy performance as long as the organizer does not make it erotic.

"At least we don't need to reshape our facility or think up new acts to attract customers. You know, the business this year is much poorer than before."

Wei said the regulation has other aspects that will prevent any erotic performances at the city's venues, including a detailed stipulation to make "all balconies transparent" to people on the street outside.

The local government will also launch a crackdown on some 200 unlicensed facilities this year, targeting illegal performances, venues with safety issues and infringements on intellectual property rights by karaoke bars.

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