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Pop concerts that must dance to a different tune

Is it safe for children to attend pop concerts featuring "sexy dancing and sexy costumes"? Definitely not, says a Hong Kong urban councillor, Jennifer Chow, who is proposing a classification system, similar to that used for films, so that parents can be warned about what their children might see.

Ms Chow has discovered that concerts used to consist of "one person singing" but "now they use many new selling points such as sexy dancing and sexy costumes".

The chief culprit appears to be the Hong Kong mega-star Leslie Cheung who has just completed a highly successful series of concerts at which he was seen clutching his crotch.

This form of behaviour is not entirely unknown at pop concerts; anyone who has attended a Madonna concert would be startled to learn that Mr Cheung was being unduly provocative.

However Ms Chow says she has conducted a survey of 360 parents and found that 90 per cent were worried about what might be seen at a pop concert.

Ms Chow is a member of the august body which recently decided that Elton John could only perform at an open-air pop concert to mark the handover of Hong Kong if the audience wore headphones so as to reduce the noise level.

Hong Kong seems to have a problem with the performing arts. Films and television programmes depicting violence acts in graphic detail have routinely been declared as suitable family entertainment whereas naked parts of the human body seem to give great offence.

A couple of years ago the colony's Obscene Articles Tribunal ruled that a statue of a naked man by the world renowned sculptress Dame Elisabeth Frink was a Class II piece of work meaning it fell into the category of being either violent, depraved or repulsive. The statue was allowed to remain on display after the penis was covered with a cardboard fig leaf.

Like the Elton John concert which was cancelled, the statue was later withdrawn. It remains to be seen whether Leslie Cheung will also have to be withdrawn from alongside a host of other pop stars. Ms Chow is not without her critics. Ada Wong, another urban councillor, says that Hong Kong youth face problems somewhat more profound than exposure to pop concerts. She said her main concern was the freedom to perform rather than the performance.