Will more cities embrace Langfang’s Christmas ban? Is Christmas in danger of becoming ancient history?
Just when we were starting to think that we lived in a free world where everybody can embrace whatever they want, we’re hit with the reality of oppression, like the news the Chinese city of Langfang woke up to earlier this week when the authorities of that city announced a law banning the Christmas celebrations in heir city.
Why would they take the trouble to pass a law like that, you may ask? According to the city’s authorities, Christmas is a Western celebration that has nothing to do with their culture. They believe that it’s nothing but a fad related to a general admiration of the West that’s gotten out of control, and that they felt the need to really do something about it.
The ban involves taking down all decorations from public spaces such as malls, schools, and even the parks and streets. Of course, this also includes private spaces like houses or even cars. Generally speaking, Christmas isn’t a public holiday, and people work as usual on those days, but with this ban, any form of holiday spirit will be completely forbidden.
According to the law, public spaces will be monitored to prevent the incursion of religion in public life (China is still governed by a Communist system where religion doesn’t interfere in public life). This order is quite strict, and police officers are instructed to clear out everything and even arrest those who disregard the ban. This affects street vendors in particular because their best season for sales is Christmas.
However, this isn’t the first time something like this happens in China. Just last year, the city of Hengyang issued a public statement asking for the Communist Party to encourage their petition to “resist the rampant Western festival.” This was seconded by the China Communist Youth League, who literally stated that “Christmas is China’s day of shame.”
While many agree with Langfang’s measure to reduce the religion’s strength in the country, others have seen this as an oppressive act that will only increase hostile attitudes toward freedom of speech and beliefs. The irony here is that, while Christmas is often celebrated as a secular festivity that goes beyond religion, China is the country that manufactures about four-fifths of all Christmas-related products sold in the world, with Christmas lights being the most commercialized product.
Although it’s true that many cultures celebrate Christmas nowadays as a result of colonization, it’s also true that humanity has fought really hard to achieve freedom in all forms, and bans like these are bringing back oppressive attitudes we shouldn’t be talking about today. Can’t people just celebrate whatever they want if they’re not hurting anybody?
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