China officials have launched its latest crackdown on funeral strippers. Yes, funeral strippers.
The country’s Ministry of Culture announced late last month that it will be targeting a slew of rural provinces “for their obscene and vulgar performances at weddings, funerals and temple fairs,” China’s state-run Global Times newspaper reported.
As part of the new crackdown, a special “hotline” will be set up for the public to report any “funeral misdeeds” in exchange for a monetary reward, according to news outlet.
It has been a longtime tradition in rural China for residents to hire strippers to partake in bawdy performances at funerals in order to attract a larger attendance of mourners.
Those locals believe that a high turnout at funerals is a sign of honor for the dead.
According to the Global Times: “Scantily clad women in sexy lingerie and revealing clothes showing off their bodies in front an electronic screen displaying a black-and-white headshot of the deceased with text reading, ‘We offer profound condolences for the death of this man’ are now a modern part of funerals in some rural areas of China.”
In describing a typical scene in which strippers perform at a funeral, the news site continued: “The crowd of pushed to climax, roaring with laughter, whistling, applauding and cursing. As the performers saunter into the audience to giggle their breasts and rub men’s crotches, a reminder of ‘no photographs allowed’ can occasionally be heard.”
It’s not the first time Chinese officials have waged war against the bizarre practice.
In 2015, the Ministry of Culture announced its plan to rid the “bizarre and increasingly popular” striptease performances for “corrupting the social atmosphere,” the news site reported.
The peculiar practice dates back to the 1990s, according to the Global Times, which reported that experts attribute the stripper performances as a way to worship fertility.
“In some local cultures, dancing with erotic elements can be used to convey the deceased’s wishes of being blessed with many children,” Huang Jianxing, professor of Fujian Normal University Sociology and History Department, told the Global Times.
Kuang Haiyan, a media professor, told the news site: “According to the interpretation of cultural anthropology, the fete is originated from the worship of reproduction. Therefore the erotic performance at the funeral is just a cultural atavism.”
Haiyan continued: “From the perspective of folklore, festivals and rituals such as the Chinese New Year are the critical time for people to lay down their life and embrace the death. That’s the moment for them to release their passion at the funeral.”