Christmas is cancelled for Chinese university students in effort to 'resist the expansion of Western culture'

Posters around the campus in Xian urge students to 'strive to be outstanding sons and daughters of China, oppose kitsch Western holidays'

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The Independent Online

A Chinese university has banned its students from partaking in any Christmas festivities, despite the festival growing in stature in the country, urging them to “resist the expansion of Western culture”.

State media reported that the Modern College of Northwest University, in the city of Xian, forced students to watch pro-Communist propaganda films and warned that any who marked the Christian festival would be punished.

Posters around campus urged them to “strive to be outstanding sons and daughters of China, oppose kitsch Western holidays”.

An official microblog of one of the university’s Communist Party committees displayed messages telling students not to “fawn on foreigners”.

It also stated: “In recent years, more and more Chinese have started to attach importance to Western festivals.

“In their eyes, the West is more developed than China, and they think that their holidays are more elegant than ours, even that Western festivals are very fashionable and China’s traditional festivals are old fashioned.”

 

“There’s nothing we can do about it, we can’t escape,” one student was quoted as saying, talking about the three-hour propaganda video session that included a film about Confucius. Attendees said that teachers stood guard to prevent them leaving.

The communist group was right about the rise of Christmas’s popularity in China – 2014 has marked the festival’s biggest year yet in the country. China’s young, moneyed middle class has adopted Western-derived gift-giving traditions with vigour, with city shopping malls decked with decorations and carols.

Meanwhile, in high-end hotels in major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, Christmas light turning-on ceremonies are marketed as the most important events of the establishments’ years, marked by lavish media parties with roast turkey, cakes and wine.

Although the adoption of Christmas might seem to be at odds with the central government communist party’s atheist values, which it has made loud noises about promoting this year, festive focus in China tends to be on commercial rather than religious aspects of the day.

Still, China’s regular clampdown on Christianity has reared its head. In the eastern city of Wenzhou a Christian congregation saw a makeshift cross it erected, to replace one that was removed by authorities in October, torn down within an hour.

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