A Chinese university has banned Christmas in order to help young people resist the “corrosion of Western religious culture.”
The Communist Youth League at Shenyang Pharmaceutical University, in China’s north-east, posted an online notice informing students that the ban was to help them develop their own “cultural confidence”.
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“In recent years,” the notice said. “Influenced by Western culture and individual business operations, as well as erroneous public opinions expressed on the Internet, some young people are blindly excited by Western holidays, especially religious holidays like Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.”
The notice said that the students’ union, the different student associations, and the sub branches of the youth league would not be permitted to hold Christmas-related activities.
The ban was put in place "in order to guide the youth league members in building cultural confidence and resisting the corrosion caused by Western religious culture", it added.
Christmas is not a national holiday in officially atheist China, and few people understand its traditional meanings or religious roots.
However, it is becoming more popular among the wealthier families in China’s larger cities.
Three years ago the Modern College of North-west University, located in Xi’an, in China’s north, had also banned Christmas.
Banners were strung up around the campus reading “Strive to be outstanding sons and daughters of China, oppose kitsch Western holidays” and “Resist the expansion of Western culture”.
One student told the Beijing News that they would be punished if they did not attend a mandatory three-hour screening of propaganda films. Teachers apparently stood guard to stop people leaving the screenings.
“There’s nothing we can do about it, we can’t escape,” the student told the newspaper.
Wenzhou, a city in the wealthy eastern province of Zhejiang, has banned all Christmas activities in schools and kindergartens, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
Some academics in China have complained about an ideological tightening since President Xi Jinping assumed leadership of the Communist Party five years ago.
Additional reporting by Christine Wei