12/21/2017, 13.19
CHINA
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Communist Party bans Christmas, calls it “spiritual opium”

Party and government officials must promote traditional Chinese culture, not attend banquets and ceremonies. Shenyang University bans students from meeting to celebrate Christmas. In Gansu, Commerce and Industry Department forces business to remove Christmas trees from its online store.

Beijing (AsiaNews/RFA) – The disciplinary arm of the ruling Chinese Communist Party has banned its members and government officials from celebrating Christmas, likening the practice to "spiritual opium" for its members.

A notice issued by the Commission for Discipline Inspection of Hengyang city in the central province of Hunan warned city officials not to engage in meals and gatherings on Christmas Eve, warning that those caught violating the rules would have to "bear responsibility."

The wording of the notice suggests it has been sent to officials nationwide.

"With the approach of Christmas, leaders and officials of all ranks must promote traditional Chinese culture and take on the task of building a spiritual home for the Chinese people," the notice says.

"They must earnestly study the doctrine of cultural self-confidence introduced at the 19th Party Congress, and refrain from blindly celebrating foreign festivals or engaging in Western religions," it said.

"They must not attend any celebrations of a Western origin, and carry out good security work on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day," it noted.

Meanwhile, a company in the northwestern province of Gansu has removed Christmas trees from its online store, after warnings from the local Commerce and Industry Department, sources told RFA.

The moves come after a university in the northeastern Chinese city of Shenyang banned its students from holding any gatherings to celebrate Christmas.

"In recent years, some young people have been blindly celebrating Western religious festivals such as ‘Silent Night’, the Chinese term for the night before Christmas, and Christmas Day as a result of the commercial hype surrounding Western culture," a directive from the Shenyang Pharmaceutical University's Communist Party Youth League branch said.

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