When I Die, I May Not Get To Heaven

A Stripper Send-Off

I am thinking of an old Tanya Tucker country song…

Cai Jinlai and his son Cai Ruigong had a bet; if Jinlai lived past 100 his son would hire a stripper for his funeral. He lived to 103, and Ruigong followed through on his end of the deal. He paid the equivalent of $160 for an adult dancer to perform a ten minute striptease in front of his father’s coffin.

In farming villages across rural China and Taiwan, stripper funerals have become commonplace. It is believed, among the locals, that the number of mourners who gather for a funeral indicates the worthiness of the deceased. And the more people who come to the funeral, the more luck will befall the surviving family and offspring. Strippers are a surefire way to draw people, or in this case mourners. In some towns in Jiangsu, a province in eastern China, the events have become nightly spectacles, drawing the entire town out. Sometimes rival funerals occur, and strippers compete to see who can attract the best crowd. “Some strippers even take off the trousers of male viewers and persuade them to join in the dancing, while others bathe in public or perform nude with snakes,” reports one Chinese newspaper.

Stripper funerals have become so popular that they have caught the eye of the overbearing communist government, which a few years ago detained five people for running “striptease send-off funerals”. The arrests also took place in Jiangsu province. Local officials have ordered a halt to the performances, calling them “obscene” and are requiring funeral plans to be submitted to the state in advance for approval. Officials have also set up a hotline, asking villagers to call in and report funeral misdeeds.

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