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Funeral Strippers

Funerals are seeing an unprecedented rise in attendance in rural China, and officials in the Ministry of Culture are not happy about it. In the past several years, the presence of exotic dancers at funeral services has increased in non-urban Chinese communities. The Ministry is building a campaign to eradicate stripteases and other erotic behavior from what they view and want viewed as solemn cultural and social events. Officials worry that the current state of affairs is tearing at the moral fiber of the country's rural residents.

Lack of Cultural Events

Hiring erotic dancers for a funeral is not an entirely new development. Embellishments to memorial services in the past have included:

  • Chinese opera performances
  • Film screenings
  • Traditional dance

Such additions are uses to attract more people to the service, which both honors the dead and displays the family's prosperity. Chinese officials are finding that the more remote and rural villages lack the kind of social and cultural activity of larger cities. Many residents actually commute home for memorial services from distant industrial jobs that keep them away more than not. The dancers have apparently been successful in drawing people back home to pay their respects.

Thriving Business

Businesses that cater to those people who wish to hire entertainment for a funeral have sprung up throughout rural China. While the practice is not exactly new, it is only recently that public attention has been drawn to the unorthodox services. In the past months, videos have been posted on the Internet that show women disrobing at several ceremonies. The loudest objections have been made by viewers who are offended by the presence of children and elders at the performances. The Ministry decries the entertainments as an affront to social mores that respect all generations throughout society. Some argue that the presence of the dancers simply follows in the tradition of creating elaborate gestures to show respect for and honor the passing of a loved one. In rural areas, where resources may be limited, proponents make the case that this is an entertainment that is available and has wide appeal. Even so, the cost for a performance is not cheap. Shows can run up to $1,000 dollars per event.

Disciplinary Measures

One of the ways the Chinese Ministry has cracked down on the erotic dance industry for funerals is to punish the operators of the dance troupes. A notable act involved a 15-day jail term and an $11,000 dollar fine for one director. The case against him was made through the use of videos that had been posted over social media on the Internet. In one of the videos, viewers could see that the women entered the memorial under the guise of performing funereal dirges, which they did until they began to remove articles of clothing.

Taiwan More Tolerant

Taiwan has taken a lighter approach than China when it comes to dealing with erotic dancers at memorial services. While they officially discourage the practice, Taiwanese officials have applied less discipline to the phenomena. Photos are available that display dancers performing atop the roofs of cars, out in the open but nevertheless ready for a hasty retreat. Still, centuries-old customs run deep, and many worry that these events cast an unfavorable light on Chinese and Taiwanese society. Some nationals disparage the dancing as crass and disrespectful to both the living and the dead. Others are concerned that the rest of the world may view Chinese society as frivolous and pleasure seeking.

Class Divide

The recent attention paid to the subject of stripteases at funerals underscores China's difficulty in keeping a consistent and controlled public face. Social media lays bare practices that even a few years ago would have stayed within the confines of the small villages of their origin. China may be finding that its citizens are open to the same public scrutiny as anyone when there is a cell phone in the room, and the picture is not always pretty.

Category: Get Ordained Funeral

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