City in China bans Santa Claus, Christmas items

File photo: Flickr/stevendepolo

Dec. 20 (UPI) — You better watch out, you better not cry; you better not pout, I’m telling you why: A ban on Christmas decorations is coming to one town in China, according to multiple press reports.

Officials in a northern Chinese city have said they will punish anyone selling Santa Claus figurines, Christmas trees, wreaths and stockings, the South China Morning Post reported Wednesday.

The drastic ban on items used to celebrate what is mostly a secular holiday in the world’s second-biggest economy is being enforced in Langfang, in northern Hebei Province, where officials say the move will “maintain stability.”

Christmas is not an officially recognized holiday in China, but the holiday is associated with Christianity. The crackdown on Christmas decorations is compatible with government interference in “unauthorized Christian worship,” according to the Post.

One Langfang city worker has denied the ban targets Christmas goods, and said it is a move to curb on-street sales of products.

“We don’t allow shops to place their products out in the street, even if it is fruit or perfumes…It’s not just during Christmas.”

According to The New York Times, public spaces are not exempt from the crackdown.

“The use of parks and other open spaces to spread religion will be managed and controlled…If found, monitor closely and report them to superiors,” the city said in its notice.

Reports of the ban come after dozens of police officers reportedly disrupted a children’s Bible class in Guangzhou, a city in southern China, over the weekend. Other authorities in Beijing closed down a 1,500-member church in September.

The Global Times reported Langfang’s policy is part of an effort to better its standing in China’s “National Civilized Cities” ratings, promoted by the Chinese Communist Party.


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