China Cracks Down on Christmas

Be thankful that we live in a nation where we are free to celebrate our faith. It is still unusual in much of the world.

China is cracking down on Christmas. Several cities, schools, and government institutions have ordered citizens not to celebrate the holiday and to instead focus on promoting traditional Chinese culture.

In the northern city of Langfang in Hebei province, city officials ordered all Christmas decorations to be cleared and forbade shops from selling Christmas-themed goods. Officials said the measure was aimed at “maintaining stability” and controlling street hawkers.

In Changsha, in central Hunan province, the education bureau last week issued a directive to schools not to celebrate “western festivals” such as Christmas, including putting up decorations, posting related messages or exchanging gifts. At least four Chinese cities and one county have issued a ban on Christmas decorations, according to Associated Press.

A teacher in Huangshan in Anhui province issued a reminder on Weibo on Christmas Eve to follow a recent notice from the propaganda department not to attend Christmas parties, post related messages on the popular messaging apps WeChat or QQ, or give teachers “peace apples”, a tradition in China. The term for Christmas Eve, pinganye, or peaceful night, is similar to that of the world “apple”.

And it’s a healthy reminder that we must protect our religious liberties.

The principal of Manchester Elementary School – located near Omaha, Nebraska – sent her staff a memo on holiday symbols that does not reflect the Elkhorn Public Schools District’s policies, according to a district statement sent to USA TODAY Friday.

[…]

The lists said winter-themed symbols such as sledding, gingerbread people and snowmen were allowed. But symbols associated with Christmas were not, as to avoid promoting a religious holiday.

The memo at times includes explanations for why certain items were disallowed:

  • Elf on the Shelf  – that’s Christmas-related
  • Candy Cane – that’s Christmas-related. Historically, the shape is a “J” for Jesus. The red is for the blood of Christ, and the white is a symbol of his resurrection. This would also include different colored candy canes
  • Red/Green items – traditional Christmas colors
  • Reindeer

The memo is signed “the (Unintentional) Grinch who stole Christmas (from Manchester).”

It explains the policies: “I come from a place that Christmas and the like are not allowed in schools … over the years in my educational career, this has evolved into the expectation for all educators.”