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China: Banning Christmas as an “Infiltration of Western Forces”

Persecution of Christians in China: the government is not just moving against churches and Christian organizations that do not have official government recognition, but is waging all-out war against the Christian faithful and Christian observances.

This is a matter of grave concern not only for China’s Catholic and Protestant churches, but for the tiny community of Orthodox Christians in China. The Orthodox churches in China could be closed at any time at the whim of local officials, and Orthodox Christians taken into custody, if they do not go along with this “sinicization.” But to do so would be to forsake genuine Christian traditions, not just cultural figures such as Santa Claus.

For previous coverage of the persecution of Christians in China, see here.

“Banning Christmas as an ‘Infiltration of Western Forces,’” by Li Mingxuan, Bitter Winter, February 2, 2020:

On Christmas Eve last year, a Three-Self Church in the Liaozhong District of Shenyang, the capital of the northeastern Province of Liaoning, organized a performance themed “Blessings of Santa Claus” for its congregation members and government officials, who were seated in the front row.

“Western Santa Claus, you have been with us for more than half a century,” a state-approved clergy member was addressing an actor playing Father Christmas on stage. “But our Christianity has taken the road of ‘Sinicization’: we have our pastors and seminaries, and the Communist Party and our government lead us. From now on, we will no longer need Western missionaries, nor we will rely on anti-China forces. We won’t be overthrown by the United States and other Western countries. I ask you formally, here and now, to leave the stage of our China!”

He then urged Santa Claus to “take the spirit of 19th CCP National Congress and Xi Jinping’s speeches to the West, especially to Trump in the US, to study.” To which Santa replied while unfolding a Chinese flag: “China is too powerful! Uncle Xi is too awesome!” The performance ended with the singing of the “Ode to the Motherland” – a popular patriotic song since the founding of the People’s Republic.

Instead of Christmas, the government is urging people to celebrate the “Great Man’s Day”, born on December 26. A cake with Chinese characters for “Happy birthday to Mao Zedong” was placed in front of a white marble statue of Mao Zedong in Wangzishan Temple in Pingyi County in Linyi, a city in the eastern province of Shandong.

“Celebrating Christmas means betraying China.”

Since the start of the new school year in 2019, schools throughout China intensified patriotic education, indoctrinating children to hate anything “Western,” including democratic values and religion. Christmas has been designated as one of the “evils.”

On December 23, the Education and Technology Bureau of Qianxi county in Bijie, a Prefecture-level City in the southwestern province of Guizhou, issued a notice prohibiting students from celebrating Christmas. The attached material misleadingly claims that Christmas is directly related to the destruction of the Old Summer Palace by the British and French troops in 1860. Known in China as Yuanming Yuan (the Garden of Perfection and Light), the main imperial residence in Beijing that housed numerous historical and art treasures was considered the most beautiful palace in the country, and its destruction remains a painful issue for the Chinese.

Hoping to provoke nationalist sentiments, the authorities falsely stated in the notice that the allied forces designated the night of preparation to attack the palace as “Christmas Eve,” the day of the burning of the Yuanming Yuan on December 25 as “Christmas,” and December 26 the “Carnival day” to celebrate “the offensive victory” and humiliate the Chinese. In reality, Christmas has been observed in China since the Tang Dynasty (618-907)….

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