Communist officials in Langfang, a city just south of Beijing, China, issued a directive prohibiting all Christmas sales and decorations between Dec. 23 and Dec. 25, including any “Santa” displays.
The Urban Management Bureau of Langfang distributed the notice and claimed it was not targeting Christmas but wanted to ensure its city streets were clean and orderly to qualify for inclusion in the “National Civilized Cities” competition, reported the Global Times.
The Communist-run Bureau banned Christmas trees on streets, and stores were “not allowed to put up posters, banners or light boxes about Christmas sales,” reported The Times. “Outdoor performances to celebrate the holiday or promote sales [were] also prohibited.”
The paper further reported that “city peddlers [were] forbidden from selling Christmas related items like Christmas apples, Santa costumes and stockings, or Christmas trees.”
Commenting on what happened, the Christian relief group ChinaAid said the directive “comes amid Chinese authorities’ building an unfounded anxiety about foreign religions infiltrating China in order to overthrow their power.”
“As a result, they have begun ‘Sinicizing’ religions, or forcing them to conform to Communist Party ideals, in order to preserve their ideological control of the people,” said ChinaAid in a statement. ” Those who refuse to comply are often arrested or otherwise harassed.”