Strippers at Chinese Funerals: A New Trend
Recently, there has been a controversial rise in the presence of strippers or exotic dancers at Chinese funerals. It has now become more common for people to party at funerals rather than mourn. These are usually young women and there are yet to have cases of male strippers which have been recorded.
The practice is said to have started in 1995 in Taiwan following a time where the local mafia had seized control of the mortuary industry and offered strippers from their clubs at a cut price. Interestingly, there have been reports of women attempting to strip at temple events as far back as the 1800s, however, a reason for this has not been given.
Reasons for Strippers at a funeral
One of the reasons given for female strippers to be at a funeral, typically in rural communities in China, is the believed that more people will be inclined to attend the funeral. In China, a high attendance is seen as valuable and the ultimate way of honouring the dead. Furthermore, it is a tradition at a Chinese funeral to give monetary gifts to the family of the deceased. Some are saying hiring strippers for a funeral service is an attempt to up the attendance and therefore receive more money from the guests.
Their presence is justified at such a ritual service because the apparent “spiritual” purpose of the strippers is to appease wandering spirits and liven up the otherwise sombre occasion. They are also meant to give the deceased one last pleasure before they pass over.
Another theory is that the strippers are hired to perform at a funeral in order to promote reproduction. In a BBC news report, Huang Jianxing who is a professor at Fujian Normal University said that it is a way to honour the deceased’s wishes to be “blessed with many children”.
What happens at a ‘stripper’ funeral?
Apart from the actual funeral service in its pure sense, performances by the exotic dancers take place. The performances themselves can vary widely, they may include pole-dancing, professional musicians, fireworks and other on-stage entrainment. It has been reported that the strippers go as far as to give the mourners of the deceased lap dances as they parade around the service half-naked.
Very controversially, the dancers are said to in some cases remove their underwear completely and this happens in front of young children who are trying to grieve.
However, even more recently, China has stated that there will be an official crackdown on these funerals which involve strippers. The country has been left embarrassed after videos of funerals featuring exotic entertainment have been spread widely across social media platforms in various countries all across the globe.
The Ministry of Culture has said that it would start to target “obscene, pornographic and vulgar performances” at funerals, which seem to have become commonplace at weddings as well. There has been a hotline set up for funeral attendees to report “funeral misdeeds”, with a monetary incentive attached to the filed reports.