China launches new crackdown on grieving families hiring ‘funeral strippers’

A hotline has been set up where you can receive a monetary reward for reporting any ‘funeral misdeeds’

China is once again trying to take the “fun” out of funerals by cracking down on the controversial and risqué practice of hiring strippers to send dead relatives off in style.

Back in January, the country’s Ministry of Culture announced a new campaign against “obscene and vulgar performances” at weddings, funerals, and temple fairs, the Global Times reports. The campaign will center around the fun-loving provinces of Henan, Anhui, Jiangsu, and Hebei.

A special hotline has also been set up where you can earn a monetary reward for reporting any “funeral misdeeds.”

In case you’re a bit perplexed, we should explain that “funeral strippers” have a storied history in contemporary China as a way of livening up a loved one’s passing and attracting additional “grievers” to the ceremony.

The practice first caught national attention back in 2006 when farmers in a small Jiangsu village invited “striptease troupes” to perform at a funeral.

“Some strippers even take off the trousers of male viewers and persuade them to join in the dancing, while others bathe in public or perform nude with snakes,” reads one report of that infamous event.

Soon after the funeral’s festivities made headlines, the local government sacked some cadres and promptly outlawed all “obscene” burial practices.

However, funeral strippers were back in the public eye in 2015, after photos went viral of a ceremony in rural Hebei which featured scantily-clad women gyrating on a pole on stage and inviting “grieving” men to come up and undress them further as an attentive crowd including elderly men and young children looked on.

The Ministry of Culture responded to the x-rated entertainment by announcing plans to eliminate the erotic perfromances which were “corrupting the social atmosphere.” Meanwhile, China’s official Xinhua news agency wrote that the phenomenon of funeral strippers “highlights the trappings of modern life in China, whereby vanity and snobbery prevail over traditions.”

It’s not clear what provocative ceremony has spurred on this latest crackdown. We last reported on funeral strippers in January 2017 when Chiayi county in Taiwan mourned the passing of one well-respected official with a procession of 50 jeeps topped by women dancing on poles.

You can’t always decide how you go out, but you can have some say on how you’ll be remembered.