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ICC Note: Despite various local instances showing that the Communist Party in China is trying to rid Christmas celebration for fear of people “accepting Western ideology/religion” this year, the Chinese government insists that there is no actual ban of Christmas in place at the national level. However, President Xi Jinping’s recent focus of traditional Chinese values and Sinocization of religion seem to have a negative impact on Christmas celebration throughout China.

12/26/2017 China (Financial Times) – Chinese officials have put a dampener on Christmas spirit — with some even telling party members and their families not to celebrate the festive season.

Throughout China, local governments, Communist party branches, schools and even shopping malls issued regulations this year suggesting people tone down Christmas parties and decorations.

The government insists there is no actual ban of Christmas in place at the national level but the number of local bans have raised questions about whether there is a behind-the-scenes “war on Christmas” by Beijing.

Christmas is not a holiday in China but has grown in popularity in recent years, particularly among the young, who see it less in religious terms and more as an excuse to shop. “Some of us like Christmas just because it is exotic, it is a chance to be part of world culture,” said Claire Yu, who was shopping at a mall on Tuesday. The popularity of Christmas is also a barometer of Christianity in China, which has made inroads despite official atheism.

Some of the local regulations are thought to have been inspired by a recent focus by President Xi Jinping on strengthening traditional Chinese values. “We, the Chinese people, have greater confidence in our own culture,” Mr Xi said in his most important speech of the year, the report to the 19th Communist party Congress in October. “Cultural confidence represents a fundamental and profound force that sustains the development of a country and a nation.”

In China’s provinces, social media have published details of local governments banning Christmas for government officials and Communist party members. Security officials in Hengyang, one central Chinese city, published a notice on December 19 telling Communist party members, government officials and their families not to celebrate Christmas. It also said it would fine anyone caught making or selling artificial snow.

 

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