Chinese Authorities Clampdown On 'Funeral Strippers'
China has begun a crackdown on 'funeral strippers' in rural communities.
The Ministry of Culture has announced a clamping down on 'striptease artists' and other 'obscene, pornographic and vulgar performances' at funerals, the Telegraph reports.
This is the third campaign by authorities to try and stop the performances - the first was in 2006 and was followed by another in 2015. The latest attempt is focussed on 19 cities across four provinces - Henan, Hebie, Anhui and Jiangsu - according to a statement on the Ministry of Culture's website.
The practice of hiring strippers for a funeral is said to have begun in the 1990s, and it remains popular today.
Some rural communities reportedly believe that it's good luck to have a huge number of mourners paying their respects to the dead, so by having such a show, families can be sure their deceased relative will get a decent send-off. Other experts say the performances are a way to pay tribute to fertility.
It hit headlines in 2015, after images taken at one funeral were shared online. An eyewitness, speaking at the time, told the Global Times: "They first danced passionately and then took off their clothes piece by piece.
"Behind them, an electronic screen was displaying a picture of the deceased with elegiac couplets on either side."
The images led to the Ministry of Culture attempting to crack down on what it called a 'bizarre and increasingly popular' trend which was 'corrupting the social atmosphere'.
According to the Global Times, a special hotline will be set up so the public can report any 'funeral misdeeds', with the promise of a cash reward for tip-offs. Anyone found to have hired a stripper for such an event will be 'severely punished', the news outlet reports.
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The Global Times commented: "In recent decades, Chinese rural households are more inclined to show off their disposable incomes by paying out several times their annual income for actors, singers, comedians, and - most recently, strippers - to comfort the bereaved and entertain the mourners."
Meanwhile, the Xinhua news agency added that the performances were part of the 'trappings of modern life' in the country, which saw 'vanity and snobbery prevail over traditions'.
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