Lanfang is not the only Chinese city to ban Christmas decorations.
Santa Claus has been officially banned from entering the Chinese city of Langfang. City authorities have issued a blanket ban applicable to all Christmas displays on public streets and in shops. The Christmas festival, although a western one, is widely celebrated by the Chinese and is used as a marketing opportunity. In most Chinese cities, residents are used to the sights of glittering trees cunningly placed in malls to lure in shoppers. The Langfang authorities have pledged to clear all Christmas decorations from its public places. Authorities have posted orders to employees to keep a close eye on the streets and shopping center from December 23 to December 25 to ensure no Christmas decorations will be seen.
Langfang is not the first Chinese metropolis to ban Christmas. A city in Hunan province, Hengyang, in December 2017 issued a notice with stern wording asking officials in the Communist Party and their relatives not to attend or follow any Christmas festival. Things came to such a pass that Anhui city’s Communist Youth League wrote on their social media page Christmas is “China’s day of shame.” As per the youth league, the festival represents the West’s cultural invasion. Although the Chinese Constitution provides religious freedom, in practice, the Communist Party in China has announced a number of plans to dissolve any differences between multiple Chinese communities present within China.
The ban is so drastic that even the Chinese Communist Party media mouthpiece publications mildly criticized the move. One paper pointed out what the authorities are doing is not a ban but a move to score points in the ratings of “National Civilized Cities,” a campaign organized every year by the Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda department.
Critics view Langfang’s tough-worded notice as a move to curry favors from Beijing. The small city is aware of the crackdowns on Muslims and Christians, and the ban is simply a corollary of such actions. Human Rights activists have claimed the Christmas decoration ban in Langfang by Beijing is the part of Beijing’s ratcheting up control over religion. They say the Christmas display ban mirrors a rise in hostility towards activities which symbolize Western values and culture.
China attempts to ban Christmas? Really ?
Chinese City Bans Christmas Displays Amid Religious Crackdown https://t.co/EiCWvoh1io
— ed jernigan (@globalej) December 20, 2018
Ironically, China manufactures about four-fifths of all Christmas lights sold within America. The trade leans on China so much that when President Donald Trump pushed more tariffs on Chinese goods, it led to Vox calling the move a “trade war on Christmas.”