Chinese officials are launching a campaign in some rural areas to crack down on stripteases and other lewd shows that have become popular at ... funerals. The Ministry of Culture said yesterday that it will tighten control over rural culture, where vulgar performances have been thriving because of a general lack of cultural events. Such erotic performances at funerals are a relatively new phenomenon. Many rural people believe that a large attendance at funerals is a sign of honor for the deceased, and the shows are used to attract more people and display the family's prosperity. Performances of traditional opera were once popular at funerals, followed later by movie screenings.
In the last several months, people who have returned to their rural homes for funerals have complained on social media about lewd shows, remarking that troupes hired to play dirges suddenly changed their tune and began to peel off their clothes, even with children in attendance. The ministry cited a performance by six strippers at a funeral in the northern province of Hebei and a lewd show by three performers at a funeral in the eastern province of Jiangsu. NPR reports the man who ran one troupe was held for two weeks and fined more than $10,000; some performers were also held, while others saw charges of organizing obscene performances. Those responsible for vulgar acts will be punished, the ministry said. "Such illegal operations have disrupted local entertainment markets and corrupted social mores," the ministry said.