In Brief

China moves to stop strippers at funerals

'Obscene' photographs of woman stripping at a funeral force Chinese ministry of culture to act

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The Chinese ministry of culture has pledged to crack down on erotic dancers at funerals, describing the rural practice of having strippers at funerals to help gather crowds as "obscene".

The pledge came after photographs of an exotic dancer taking off her bra at a funeral in the city of Handan in northern Hebei province were circulated online, the Wall Street Journal reports.

A user of Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter, said that he returned to his hometown to find women taking off their clothes at a funeral procession. After being alerted to the incident, the ministry of culture announced that it would investigate the case and punish the people involved.

The government has been trying to "fight the country's funereal stripper scourge" for several years, the Wall Street Journal says.

Strippers are hired to perform at funerals to help gather crowds which is "seen as a harbinger of good fortune in the afterlife", the WSJ explains.

Stripping is illegal in China, Xinhua reports, but erotic dancing at funerals has been going on for many years. It was first exposed in an investigation by the state-run television network CCTV in 2006 which reported that dozens of businesses offer funereal striptease services, which cost around 2,000 yuan ($322) per performance.

"This has severely polluted the local cultural life," CCTV said at the time.

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