Shenyang Pharmaceutical University, in northwestern China has banned student organisations from organising any Western religious festivals, for fear of the “corrosive” influence of Western culture. Yup, that includes Christmas.
The university’s Communist Youth League had allegedly put up an online notice of the ban on students’ union, student associations, and youth league branches from holding any activities centered around Western religious holidays.
“[The ban] is in order to guide the youth league members in building cultural confidence and resist the corrosion caused by Western religious culture,” it said.
— European News (@Euro_Newsweek) December 15, 2017
The notice condemned students who had been “blindly excited” about Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and the businesses capitalising on the holidays to promote and market themselves.
While it’s true that previous Communist rule had suppressed Christianity, things have since changed a lot since the economic and social reforms of the 1990s – what was once a closed-off society is now opening its arms to foreign lifestyles and trends.
Though conditions aren’t yet ideal for the religious believers in China and Christmas is yet an official holiday, Forbes notes that it has become a “firmly established occasion among festival-thirsty Chinese consumers”, complete with markets and decorations taking over its commercial centres as well as birthing a completely unique type of local gift where lucky apples are wrapped in colored paper and decorated with gold ribbons or pictures of Santa Claus.
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The same can’t be said for other Chinese schools and colleges like Shenyang, however. Northwest University’s Modern College, had banned Christmas on campus in 2015. Despite prompting backlash, the university located in Xi’an, Shaanxi Province insisted it was being “utterly correct” and justified its action on the fatal stampede that happened in Shanghai during 2015’s New Year’s Eve.
In 2014, city education authorities in Wenzhou, East China’s Zhejiang Province also announced a blanket ban on any Christmas-related events on all high schools, middle schools, primary schools and kindergartens.