Winter in Shenyang, where a university has banned students from celebrating Christmas (cc/Flickr)
Winter in Shenyang, where a university has banned students from celebrating Christmas (cc/Flickr)

A Chinese university has banned Christmas in order to help young people resist the “corrosion of Western religious culture”, reports The Telegraph.

A notice posted online at Shenyang Pharmaceutical University, north-eastern China, said “some young people are blindly excited by Western holidays, especially religious holidays like Christmas Eve and Christmas Day”.

The notice, posted by the Communist Youth League, said the students’ union and other student associations would not be permitted to hold Christmas-related activities. The ban was put in place to help students develop their own “cultural confidence”.

Christmas is not a national holiday in officially atheist China, and few people understand its traditional meanings or religious roots.

However, according to a recent report in the South China Morning Post, at about 90 million, there could be more Christians than members of the Chinese Communist Party. And in a speech to the Communist Party Congress in October, President Xi Jinping reiterated the importance of Chinese nationalism, saying the government would “uphold the principle that religions in China must be Chinese in orientation, and provide active guidance to religions so that they can adapt themselves to socialist society”.

So in Wenzhou, a city in the wealthy eastern province of Zhejiang, for instance, all Christmas activities in schools and kindergartens have been banned, the British newspaper said.

Zhejiang is known as the ‘Jerusalem’ of the east for its strong Christian presence. In 2013 Zhejiang’s provincial authorities launched the ‘Three rectifications and one demolition’ campaign targeting an increasing number of churches, some illegally built. Over the following two years officials sanctioned the removal of more than 1,000 church crosses.