Close

Support Global Voices

To stay independent, free, and sustainable, our community needs the help of friends and readers like you.

Donate now »

See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

The Chinese Communist Party Forbids Members From Celebrating Christmas, Calling It a Festival of Humiliation

Anti-Christmas protests in 2014. Image from China state-owned China News.

A number of Chinese Communist Party provincial headquarters have issued notices forbidding their members from celebrating Western festivals. These include Valentine’s Day, Easter, April Fool’s day, Halloween and, most recently, Christmas. In preparation for this holiday season, media outlets have also been instructed not to report any news related to Christmas, a celebration that the party feels is an unwanted reminder of China's historical humiliation by the West.

The movement against Western festivals emerged about a decade ago and was led by a group of contemporary Confucian scholars against a “Western cultural invasion”. Recently, Chinese President Xi Jinping has embraced this idea of a national cultural revival.

In January 2017, the General Office under the CPC Central Committee and the State Council jointly issued a high-level report titled, “Suggestions on the implementation of projects to promote and develop traditional Chinese culture excellence”. The report outlines a cultural revival project that combines Confucian values with the single-party political system which aims to rebuild the Chinese people’s cultural confidence.

This year, the anti-Christmas campaign has been marked by the circulation of an article that recites the history of Western military invasions in China during the First and Second World War, arguing that Christmas is a festival which represents Chinese humiliation.

The article defines the Christmas celebration as a religious practice:

平安夜、圣诞节等,这些带有浓郁宗教色彩的西方节日,因其特殊的文化底蕴和异域风情,加之一些机构和个人的极力推介,越来越受到中国一些年轻人的追捧,商家也借机造势,营造气氛,吸引消费者,洋节的社会影响是越来越大,让许多民族节日相形见拙。
年轻人爱标新立异,追赶时髦,商人在商言商,借洋节赚钱,这都可以理解。但一些党员干部也参与其中,糊里糊涂过洋节,这就是政治修养问题了。
这些影响大的洋节,基本上都有宗教背景,是宗教信仰的一部分。

Christmas Eve and Christmas, along with other western festivals of religious value, have been widely celebrated by Chinese young people for their exotic cultural traits. The phenomena is also thanks to the promotion of some individuals and organizations. The business sector also helps foster the atmosphere to attract consumers. The impact of Western festivals in society is getting stronger and stronger, while national holidays are less visible.
It can be understood that young people love chasing after unconventional and popular cultures and the business sector wants to make money from Western festivals. But for CCP members and officials, they should not follow the trend as the issue is a matter of political belief and practice.
All these Western festivals have religious backgrounds and should be considered to be a part of religious practice.

It also argues that the popularity of Western festivals is a form of cultural invasion that members of the CCP should not be taking part in:

无神论者去过宗教性节日,这是信仰不坚定、思想不清醒的体现了。
另一方面,节日是民族文化的瑰宝,每个民族都有其传承的节日,这是民族凝聚力的维系。
如果一个民族的群体热衷于另一个民族的节日,这说明文化入侵已是极其严重了。党员干部如果认识不到这点,那就是丧失政治敏锐性,也失去了先进性。

If an atheist is celebrating religious festivals, his or her belief is inconsistent.
Moreover, festivals are the embodiment of the value of a national culture. Every nationality has its festival heritage which brings the nation together.
If a nationality is so keen on celebrating other nations’ festivals, the phenomena is indicative of a very serious cultural invasion. If party members and officials are not aware of this, they have lost their political sensitivities and progressiveness.

The article recites the history of the Eight-Nation Alliance to argue that Christmas is a festival of Chinese humiliation. The international military alliance was formed in reaction to the Boxer Movement in China which took place between 1899 and 1900. Supported by the Qing government, the Boxers attacked and killed foreign missionaries, nationals and Chinese Christians across northern China. The conflicts led to the invasion, occupation and looting of Peking in 1900.

除了日本外,其他七国都是信基督教的。[…] 基督教在被侵略时期传入中国的目的就是同化中国人的思想,以便于进行殖民地统治。基督教传入中国的历史上深深的印刻着“耻辱”两个字。圣诞节是基督徒的节日,也是中国人的伤疤,不适合中国人,勿忘国耻!

Apart from Japan, all of the countries have Christianity as their national religion. […] The spread of Christianity in China during war times is imprinted with the word “humiliation”. Christmas is a festival celebrated by Christians and, is hence, a wound of Chinese people. It is not suitable for the Chinese. We should not forget the shameful history of our country.

Many party members said that they have received notification from CCP branches in universities or state corporations, informing them that they should not take part in Christmas celebrations. On Twitter, @szshu shared the news about CCP’s Western festival ban:

The Communist Youth League (CYL) in Anhui wrote on Weibo on 17 of December that Christmas should be regarded as a festival of Chinese humiliation because of the history of Western invasion. A number of authorities have banned CCP members from celebrating Western festivals. In Hengyang of Hunan, the disciplinary department of the CCP has banned members and officials, as well as their family members, from attending Christmas parties.

Local media outlets have also received censorship instruction. According to China Digital Times, the directive issued last week stated:

Media must not report news related to Christmas. New media platforms of all levels, do not forward posts related to the “foreign holiday” topic. (December 22, 2017)

On Weibo, one of China's most popular social media platforms, some agreed with the CCP’s Christmas ban:

因为苏东剧变以来的这三十多年,以美国为首的西方国家在意识形态领域对中国实行和平演变,温水煮青蛙!而这30年来中国的意识形态阵地几乎是主动弃守的!看今天洋奴遍地就知道了!所以这是一种逼不得已的绝地自卫行为!是迫在眉睫的无硝烟的文化战争!

For three decades since the drastic transformation in USSR and eastern Europe, Western ideology headed by the U.S has been advocating for peaceful transformation in China, like boiling a frog in warm water. China has lost its ideological battlefield for three decades. Just look around, there are so many Western slaves. This is a desperate defensive act, a cultural battle without gunfire.

However, others mocked the ban:

弘扬传统节日的手段就是禁止过其他节日,哇,我是不是要夸你很棒棒啊?

So the means to promote traditional festival is to ban other festivals. Wow, should I praise you for being so smart?

马克思可是纯洋货,还要不要信?

Karl Marx is a pure foreigner, should we believe him?

过洋节就是忘祖?是我们祖先不自信还是存在感低?公历纪年是以耶稣诞生为公元元年,我们也不要用了,用农历吧。

We forget our ancestors because we celebrate Western festivals? Our ancestors do not have enough confidence or have they lost their sense of existence? anno Domini (AD) means “in the year of the Lord”, we should not use that anymore and use the lunar new year instead.

我过中国特色社会主义圣诞节还不行?

Can’t I celebrate Christmas with Chinese socialist characteristics?

我是党员,我女朋友不是。她要我和她过,怎么办?

I am a party member, but my girlfriend is not. She wants to spend Christmas with me, what should I do?

Start the conversation

Authors, please log in »

Guidelines

  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices
* = required field
Email Frequency



No thanks, show me the site