Opinion / 首页Blog

Should China ban Christmas?

By seanboyce88 (blog.chinadaily.com.cn) Updated: 2014-12-30 17:02

First, I would like to post a link so people can gain some background and other information on the debate around China banning Christmas. 

Originally it was a thread by adele001 on whether or not China should ban Christmas and it proved for an interesting debate. Here are my thoughts on the matter. 

Christmas is a time for family, for sharing, giving and basically a time for being human. And sure, at the same time it is a corporate holiday to an extent; Jesus’ name was hijacked so that we could all buy the latest model iPhone, computer or whatever, but ultimately it is a friendly, peaceful holiday. This is why I as so shocked by the news this week of the student protests asking for Christmas to be banned in China due to it changing Chinese culture and for China to return to its traditional roots. Today I want to discuss this topic in length and explain in detail why the banning of Christmas by the Chinese grinches is, in my opinion, one of the more damaging moves to China and its further development and global expansion this year.

There is this idea that all Chinese culture was born, and cultivated in China, that Chinese culture has nothing to do with foreign culture. People still claim to be holding on to these cultural values and rejecting foreign cultural values. This a far too simplistic and idealistic approach to looking at culture, one evoked mainly through a lack of understanding of foreigners and of how culture works and develops.

Culture is not static, it is a free flowing, dynamically changing, abstract human construct that changes almost on a daily basis. Even parts of traditional Chinese culture like Buddhism were imported from India and the concept of socialism and communism originated in the west. This not just true of China however, even traditional parts of western culture have originated in Asia. A perfect example of this is Italian food culture, a lot of which revolves around various pasta dishes. Where did pasta come from? Its origins lay in Marco Polo’s trip to China.

Foreign cultures become assimilated by our own cultures and take on a new form, a new value. Looking at Christmas in China, it even has its own Chinese spin. In the gift giving part of Chinese culture, it is common to give apples as a present due to the characters of apple and peace sharing a character in common(for non-Chinese speakers, the characters is ping) and because Christmas Eve also contains the very same character. Christmas in China has its own new symbolic meanings and is not just a carbon copy of the western version. It has already begun to be assimilated by Chinese culture, taking on a form that many westerners would not recognize as Christmas. Our cultures are always influencing each other and especially in the modern day, with globalization and the age of “global culture”, never has this been truer. Yet, even when a country receives a foreign culture, more often than not it takes on a different face than that of its country of origin.

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