Around December 25, 2023, numerous German-language news outlets covered reports about Chinese authorities urging citizens to avoid public Christmas-related displays in order to avoid foreign influence. Examples include:

The articles are slightly different, but the gist is that Chinese authorities urge citizens not to blindly take over foreign traditions, and instead remember Chinese culture and its traditions. The province of Yunnan is cited as an example where it is recommended not to follow Christmas traditions such as sending of seasonal greeting cards, presents, and Christmas ornaments.

Several of the articles follow with pointing out a recommendation by a Communist youth organisation in the province of Gansu to celebrate the battle at Changjin lake during the Korean war, rather than observe Christmas traditions.

Now, after asking some Chinese-speaking contacts of mine, they could not find any coverage from Chinese-language/domestic sources for any such statements or recommendations. Is there a factual basis for this recent wave of reports about (some?) Chinese authorities moving to restrict the extent of Christmas traditions within P.R. China?

  • 1
    This Reuters report includes translations from an official statement reported in Xinhua. Someone with Chinese language ability should be able to track that source down. reuters.com/world/china/…
    – Brian Z
    Dec 26, 2023 at 18:04
  • I'm confused, is the question "Have Chinese authorities moved to restrict public Christmas-related displays ahead of Christmas 2023?", or is the question "Is there a factual basis for this recent wave of reports about (some?) Chinese authorities moving to restrict the extent of Christmas traditions within P.R. China?"? The law for the last 20 years is that foreigners "must not convert Chinese citizens". Dec 31, 2023 at 7:43
  • @RebeccaJ.Stones: What's the difference? I am citing multiple news outlets that describe how Chinese authorities restrict or advise against public displays of Christmas traditions this year (with article titles and summarizing paragraphs implying this is happening on a national level all across China, rather than just in a few isolated incidents), and I am asking whether this has actually happened. (Whether the law about not converting Chinese citizens is related here is debatable, as aspects like tree with ornaments and presents are rather on the secular end of Christmas traditions.) Dec 31, 2023 at 14:30

1 Answer 1


From the Reuters article linked in the comment by BrianZ and the Tagesschau article (generally a high quality respected news source) which seems to be an almost direct translation of Reuters in large parts, all the actual restrictions are from some local or minor entities.

The first one quotes restrictions from 'a property management company' to 'mall tenants'. Next there is 'some schools called on parents and students'. Then there is 'a local branch of the Communist Youth League'.

The only source of some importance is a statement by a member of the politburo standing committeebut the quotes (from Reuters) "adhere to the direction of the sinicisation of Christianity" and "(We must) interpret the doctrines and rules in line with the requirements of contemporary China's development and progress, core socialist values ​​​​and excellent Chinese traditions and culture," seem extremely vague and could mean or not mean anything.

It does happen that statements such as this from the Politburo are interpreted as a strict order to do something but in these cases one would observe widespread adaptation which clearly is not the case here from the list of examples provided above.

  • So, the answer ultimately is "No, there has been no such action on a national or nation-wide level."? Jan 7 at 19:01
  • 1
    @O.R.Mapper Yes. China is huge so there are examples of individual institutions but there is no large nation-wide action.
    – quarague
    Jan 8 at 7:46

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