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Hearing on Height Restriction Begins
The Beijing Xicheng District People's Court opened a hearing yesterday into whether the Poly Theatre's height limit for audience members is discriminating.

The hearing focuses on the Poly theatre's refusal to let 6-year-old Zhou Yuanyuan watch a January 13 performance with her mother.

That's because the girl was less than 1.2 meters tall, a restriction set by the theatre.

The girl's lawyer, Wang Wei, told the court that the theatre's discrimination infringed upon the girl's right to "enjoy arts and receive music education."

Wang cited the Law on the Protection of Minors, which stipulates that the country's museums, memorials, parks, zoos, theatres and stadiums should provide access to primary and middle school students.

The girl's mother, who is a Kindergarten teacher, said her daughter loves music and can behave during performances.

They are seeking a public apology from the theatre, a chance to watch a similar performance at the theatre and 1,000 yuan (US$120) in compensation.

But Shen Zhigeng, the lawyer for the Poly Theatre, said the theatre imposed the height restriction to ensure a quiet environment for the audience. Shen also told the court that the theatre offers regular special performances for children at low cost.

The court said it will issue a judgment within a few days.

The Capital Theatre and Beijing Concert Hall said yesterday that they, too, impose height restrictions on their audiences.

But both did say they would make exceptions if parents say their children will behave.

An official with the Department of Laws and Regulations under the Ministry of Culture said yesterday that government laws put age restrictions on bars and adult entertainment spots, but not theatres.

Public opinion about the case is split.

Zhang Hong, a high school teacher in East China's Jiangsu Province, said the Poly Theatre's height restriction "deprives children who want to be exposed to such cultural experiences."

But Shen Yingke, an IT engineer in Beijing, said sudden noises by children may "distract an orchestra conductor and jeopardize the whole performance."

(China Daily April 5, 2002)

Poly Sued for Denying Entry to Short Child
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