Planet China

The last dance

According to Chinese custom, the bigger the attendance at a funeral, the greater the respect for the deceased. But one Taiwanese widow in the city of Taichung found an unexpected way to boost the numbers recently, hiring two strippers to give her husband his final send-off. The two dancers, who turned up in knee-high boots and white bikinis, gyrated around, performing a “coffin leather dance” to Maroon 5’s Moves Like Jagger. At one stage the girls even draped themselves over the casket, in a performance that drew a photo-snapping crowd to the funeral home.

The widow said it was her final gift to a man who had always appreciated pretty women while he was alive, although the tradition is said to have originated 20 years ago when the Taiwanese mafia seized control of the mortuary industry and offered strippers at a cut price.

Risqué acts are getting more common for funerals back in mainland China too. Pictures from a funeral held in Hebei recently showed a dancer removing her clothes in front of a crowd including children. Not surprisingly, the Ministry of Culture says it has begun a crackdown on this “uncivilised” practice, which also seems designed to draw larger numbers of mourners. Officials warn they will work closely with the police to break-up cremation services where strippers and pole dancers are invited.

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