China has banned all things related to Christmas. Chinese authorities have ordered its citizens to remove Christmas decors in public spaces.
Police officials have warned the public that anyone caught celebrating the western holiday will be punished. The government ordered the people to focus instead on promoting traditional Chinese culture.
In Panlong district of Kunming, southern China, a notice was circulated to hotels, karaoke parlors, internet cafes, bars and other crowded places. The notice stated: “It is forbidden to hang Christmas stockings, wear Christmas hats, place Christmas trees and so on.”
In the northern city of Langfang in Hebei province, city officials ordered all Christmas decorations to be removed and directed shops to stop selling Christmas-themed items.
Officials claim that the measure was aimed at “maintaining stability” and controlling street hawkers.
In Langfang city, just south of Beijing, stage performances and promotional activities related to Christmas have also been banned. Police officials in key cities are making sure that people strictly abide by the new order.
This Christmas ban follows the crackdown on underground churches. Chinese government recognizes five religions: Buddhism, Catholicism, Daoism, Islam, and Protestantism. However, religious activities outside of officially sanctioned institutions are banned.
Many believe that the string of restrictions is not about attacking Christianity but more about how the local government understands the ruling party’s directive on promoting traditional Chinese culture.
“Many other countries have already accepted China’s spring festival, which is reported in China as a victory of cultural export. By that logic, there should be no problem with Christmas in China,” Wuyue Sanren, a popular
Chinese commentator, wrote online, referring to China’s New Year celebration.
“It’s an issue of cultural confidence. As long as we are confident about our culture, we won’t be afraid of your ‘western festivals’. If it’s fun, we’ll accept it,” he wrote.
Zi Yang, a China expert at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, said: “The ongoing local reaction against Christmas is part of the wider sentiment since Xi took power.
“Therefore, foreign cultural elements such as Christmas are placed on the chopping block.”