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Vietnam Seeks Karaoke Dancing Ban

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HANOI, Vietnam — Vietnam is seeking a ban on dancing at its immensely popular karaoke parlors in an attempt to reduce illegal drug use and prostitution, the government and state media reported Wednesday.

The proposed regulations were posted on the Web site of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, which says it is trying to discourage the use of the designer drug ecstasy. It was not clear how a prohibition against dancing would lead to reduced drug use or prostitution. But ecstasy is often used to fuel all-night dance parties.

"Karaoke parlors are for singing, not for dancing," Wednesday's Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper quoted Le Anh Tuyen, a ministry official, as saying.

Violators would face an unspecified fine.

The proposed regulations would also extend the hours of karaoke parlors and dance clubs from midnight until 2 a.m. _ but only those located in luxury hotels. That provision is intended to attract more foreign tourists in the face of the global economic downturn, Tuyen was quoted as saying.

Ministry officials were not available for comment Wednesday.

The proposed ban has already drawn criticism from people weighing in on the Internet.

"Who would monitor this rule and who could define what constitutes dancing?" a reader named Nhu Dan wrote to the online newspaper, VnExpress.

"I cannot imagine being forbidden to dance when you go to sing karaoke," wrote another reader, Hoa Tre.

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