Friday, December 26, 2014

Chinese City Bans Christmas in Schools and Kindergartens


BEIJING – The city of Wenzhou, in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang, has banned any form of Christmas celebration in its schools and kindergartens, the country’s official Xinhua agency reported Thursday.

The local authorities at Wenzhou sent a circular in this regard saying, “No middle school, primary school or kindergarten may hold any Christmas-themed activity or celebration.”

It also added that inspections would be conducted to ensure that the order was complied with.

Zhejiang province is known to have one of the largest Christian populations in China (especially protestants), and this year certain cities in the region witnessed tensions between this community and the authorities because of the demolition of several churches and crosses.

Zheng Shangzhong of the city’s educational bureau said that the reason for the ban was “to reverse the schools’ obsession with Western festivals at the expense of Chinese ones.”

Zheng said that the schools had the obligation to tell children the meaning of traditional festivals such as the Lantern Festival, Dragon Boat Festival and Lunar New Year.

Western festivals such as Christmas, Halloween and Valentine’s Day have become increasingly popular in recent years in China, especially because of endorsement from the younger generations and businesses in big cities, which decorate their establishments during these “imported” traditions.

Though Dec. 25 is not an official holiday in China, many commercial centers in cities like Beijing and Shanghai decorate their spaces and place Christmas trees, sometimes in a more ornate fashion than countries where there is a tradition of celebrating the birth of Jesus.

A large part of all products in the world used for decorations during Christmas are manufactured in China, especially in Yiwu, which is not far from Wenzhou.


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