In Brief

‘Funeral strippers’: China launches crackdown on erotic dancers at wakes

Ministry of Culture launches telephone hotlines with rewards for snitches

China has launched a crackdown on so-called funeral strippers, offering people cash rewards for information on “obscene performances”.

Evolving from the ancient practice of hiring performers for funerals and weddings, the phenomenon of “funeral strippers” emerged in rural areas of China in the 1990s, where they were employed to entertain mourners.

The practice has long been criticised by the authorities, who first began clamping down on “obscene” performances in 2006 and in 2015 banned them entirely.

Despite numerous attempts to stamp out the practice, it has remained a regular feature of many rural funerals. The Global Times describes strippers as a “modern part” of many rural events.

One reason may be that “some communities in rural China reportedly believe that bigger attendances at funerals help to honour the dead and bring them good fortune”, while others say erotic shows pay tribute to fertility, says The Daily Telegraph.

But now it appears the authorities have tried a more capitalist approach, setting up telephone hotlines in 19 cities across four provinces that offer people cash incentives for information on “funeral misdeeds”.

Chinese state media has often chosen to blame the shows on the West, as Chinese families have become increasing decadent and materialistic.

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

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