Christians in one part of China were greeted with government-backed anti-Christmas protests in December as part of a nationwide crackdown on Christmas, according to a new report.
Bitter Winter, which monitors religious liberty violations in China, reported Dec. 28 that Christians experienced “worse than usual” persecution this holiday season.
In one city, protesters walked through the streets carrying a Chinese flag and a sign reading, “Christmas, Get Out of China!”
“Of course, in China there is no such a thing as a spontaneous street protest,” Bitter Winter reported. “All these events are authorized and planned by the CCP – or the protesters would be immediately arrested.”
Even though China tells its citizens the pandemic has been defeated, the government nevertheless used COVID-19 as a reason to close churches this Christmas season.
– Riot police in Beijing prevented Christians from entering the Catholic Cathedral of the Savior, also known as Xishiku Church. A sign read: “Due to the pandemic, all religious activities have been halted.”
– Government officials placed a massive Christmas tree at the entrance of St. Joseph’s Church in Beijing and also placed a sign telling members that “all religious activities have been halted.”
– Police in Fujian Province stopped Christians from singing Christmas songs in a shopping mall, even though the believers had been officially invited to perform. Police said singing Christian songs is prohibited, Bitter Winter reported.
– Schools throughout China told children that “Christmas should not be celebrated, and gifts should not be exchanged,” Bitter Winter said.
“Bitter Winter was told by its correspondents in various provinces that this year was worse than usual for Christians trying to celebrate Christmas, despite the fact that a few celebrations were filmed and photographed, and used as propaganda pretending that there is freedom of religion in China,” the Bitter Winter report said.
Ironically, though, the Chinese government benefits economically from the worldwide celebration of Christmas: About 80 percent of Christmas ornaments in the U.S. and Europe are made in China.
“The CCP wins by manipulating COVID-19 regulations to crack down on Christmas in China, and wins again by selling Christmas ornaments made in China to the Westerners, perhaps in part made through the slave labor of jailed Christians or Uyghurs,” Bitter Winter reported.
Photo courtesy: ©Bitter Winter
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.