China wages war on turning funerals into crowded strip shows

China has launched its latest crackdown against a phenomenon which just won’t seem to die in rural areas – funeral strippers.

The Ministry of Culture said last month (link in Chinese) that it was targeting “striptease” and other “obscene, pornographic, and vulgar performances” at funerals, weddings and traditional Chinese New Year public gatherings.

The war on strippers at funerals has been a long one for China. Authorities first began clamping down on “obscene” performances in 2006 and launched a second campaign in 2015.

Some experts say the erotic shows pay tribute to fertility

The latest is focused on 19 cities across four provinces, Henan, Anhui, Jiangsu and Hebei, a statement on the website of the Ministry of Culture said.

Some communities in rural China reportedly believe that bigger attendances at funerals help to honour the dead and bring them good fortune.

But some experts say the erotic shows pay tribute to fertility.

“According to the interpretation of cultural anthropology, the fete is originated from the worship of reproduction,” media professor Kuang Haiyan said, according to The Global Times. “Therefore the erotic performance at the funeral is just a cultural atavism.”

Reports say the new campaign involves people being offered financial rewards to contact a special “hotline” to report “funeral misdeeds”.

Children and adults watch a striptease show at a funeral in Cheng'an county, Hebei Province, China.

Media has often blamed the shows on the increasing decadence and materialism of Chinese families, as the country opens up the West.

“In recent decades,” the Global Times said on Tuesday, “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.”

Xinhua news agency said in 2015 that exotic performances highlight “the trappings of modern life in China, whereby vanity and snobbery prevail over traditions.”

Source: The Telegraph