As Christmas draws near, ten philosophy and education PhD students from
China's top universities jointly publicized a petition on the Internet, calling
on netizens, especially the young, to be less excited about the exotic holiday,
Shanghai-based Xmnext.com reported December 21, 2006.
This is the latest instance of public resistance to western culture and
lifestyles in China. In the online petition, titled "Out of Cultural Collective
Unconsciousness, Strengthen Chinese Cultural Dominance" and dated with
traditional Chinese Era Calendar, PhD students from China's most authoritative
universities including Beida, Tsinghua and People's University hope to "wake up
the Chinese people to resist western cultural invasion".
A Santa Claus model blowing the trumpet is seen in front of
the Oriental Pearl Tower at the Lujiazui financial district in Shanghai
December 19, 2006. [newsphoto]
According to the petition, "occidental culture has been more like storms
sweeping through the country rather than mild showers," and cites the prevalence
of Christmas celebrations as a typical example.
According to the petition, in China, "when Christmas nears, shopping centres,
restaurants and hotels have decorated Christmas trees, Christmas messages flood
the Internet, newspapers, TV and radio programs, hundreds of millions text
messages are sent by cell phones, friends exchange Christmas greetings when they
meet each other, and people revel until very late on Christmas Eve." The
petition claims that the ancient oriental nation of China is shifting towards
becoming a western society.
The authors of the petition claim that celebrating Christmas is a personal
decision, but most Chinese join in the celebrations without clearly knowing the
origin of the occasion.
One of the reasons for this, according to the authors is a failure on the
part of the government to maintain Chinese traditions while encouraging the
economy. Retailers and other business people are also to blame for using the
festival to boost business. On Christmas Eve, people must wait for seats at
nearly every restaurant in Beijing and other cities in China.
The petition goes on to state that this case should not be seen as an
isolated phenomenon as American and European culture expand throughout China
along with their technological and economic domination.
It seems the petition will not receive much support, judging from the large
number of critical responses on the Internet. And it's likely it will be drowned
out in the mainstream, where Christmas and Valentine's Day are becoming more
popular than the Spring Festival among youngsters.
On the same day another report from the Henan Business News in central
China's Henan Province said a commercial chamber was planning a nude running
event on the evening of December 24, and had received more than 1,700
applications to join in the activity.
Just like Christmas, western cultures and festivals have entered people's
daily lives in China, but a large number of Chinese still need to learn more
about their background and the deeper meanings behind the social events so they
don't blindly copy something they don't understand.