Grey with fury

angry w

Are old people in China turning nasty? That was the odd question posed by Sina Weibo last week after a spate of stories in which pensioners have been terrorising neighborhoods with loud music, getting into fights and trying to extort money.

Over the last month there have been cases of elderly folk unfairly blaming passersby for accidents in which they have fallen over or come off their bikes, plus a confrontation when someone refused to give up a seat to an old man on a bus.

Before that there were complaints that elderly dance groups, who often meet in public spaces, are playing their music too loudly. When one group of young people in Guangzhou decided to stage a silent protest against one of these dance clubs the old women present started shouting at them.

So what did Sina’s poll reveal? 58% of the 80,000 people who took part said they had not noticed the phenomenon. But a surprisingly large 42% said they thought that the elderly were becoming more anti-social.

“You have to remember that these are the people who survived the Cultural Revolution,” wrote one person on China’s Twitter-like service. “They haven’t changed their aggressive ways just because they are old.”

Others said the problem lay with society, not the individuals themselves. “If these old people are respected and treated well the situation would be completely different,” wrote one woman.

Another person made the point that elderly people probably have just as many gripes about the behaviour of younger people – but don’t know how to get onto the internet to vent them.

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