BEIJING (AP) — Chinese officials are launching a campaign to crack down on stripteases and other lewd shows that have become popular at funerals in some rural areas, the Ministry of Culture said Thursday.
The ministry said in a statement 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.
The funerals also are a rare occasion for crowds to gather as villagers working as migrant workers in industrial centers return home to bury the deceased.
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.
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. Those responsible for vulgar acts will be punished, it said.
"Such illegal operations have disrupted local entertainment markets and corrupted social mores," the ministry said.
Photos and videos of such performances circulating online show children in attendance at shows featuring scantily clad women.