Chinese 'dancing grannies' help out in anti-drugs fight

Chinese women dancing in a public space Image copyright AFP
Image caption China's famous damas make public spaces their dance floors - and some are now also helping police

The southern Chinese city of Guangzhou has some new recruits in the fight against drugs - local groups of "dancing grannies".

Known for showing off their routines to music in public spaces, the groups of mainly middle-aged and retired women - known as damas - are helping narcotics officials in the city's Jianggao area, the Guangzhou Daily newspaper reports. More than 100 damas have been recruited to the scheme since its launch in January, as part of a wider campaign to crack down on drug-related crime. They've been busy going door-to-door handing out flyers, and have also taken part in a special gala aimed at educating people about the dangers of drugs, an official tells the paper.

It's hoped the women's position in society means they'll be able to monitor drug use around them. "Most women are strongly opposed to drug abuse," says Tang Rongzhen from the local narcotics office. "That's why we are recruiting them to spread an anti-drug message."

Jianggao's narcotics team may be hoping to replicate the success of a similar scheme in the north-eastern city of Yantai, which has helped officers to bust several drugs rings. Damas are ideal for the job as they're more familiar with their local area than the police teams, officer Yuan Zhu told the news portal Jiaodong Net in November. "They can often quickly identify unusual visitors in their neighbourhood and alert the police."

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