China's ministry of culture has begun a crackdown on the "uncivilised" practice of using strippers to draw mourners at funerals.

The ministry began the crackdown after several "obscene performances" were reported in the northern Hebei province and eastern Jiangsu.

In March, pictures from a funeral held in the city of Handan in northern Hebei province revealed a dancer removing her clothes in front of a crowd that included children.

After police were tipped off, investigations revealed six erotic dancers had been hired to perform at the funeral of the elderly resident.

The manager of the troupe was detained and fined after the performance was said to have violated public security regulations.

"From time to time, 'stripteases' and other illegal performances have occurred in the countryside," read a statement issued by the ministry on Thursday 23 April, reported AFP News.

The government now plans to work closely with the police to break up funerals where strippers and pole dancers are seen performing in a bid to discourage the illegal practice.

Speaking to Global Times, an eyewitness said two strippers, "wearing revealing clothes danced on a stage at a public square in our village at night. They first danced passionately and then took off their clothes piece by piece.

"Behind them, an electronic screen was displaying a picture of the deceased with elegiac couplets on either side."

The practise is believed to continue in rural villages since there is a lack of other cultural events.

It is believed that a large crowd at a funeral is a sign of honour for the deceased.