The post-production obstruction of secular Christmas imagery from a popular state-run variety show prompts questions about whether the Chinese Communist Party is renewing a boycott of Christmas. On the December 24 seasonal premiere of a the show, "The Christmas decorations in the show were obscured, causing a heated debate among netizens as to whether it was due to the boycott of the 'foreign festival,'" Hong Kong-based Media Outlet HK01 reported the next day.
Some in China have criticized Christmas as an "invasion of foreign soft power." Citing "mainland China's media," HK01 said, "the so-called "Christmas boycott" directive stems from a document issued by the Chinese Communist Party (CPC) in 2017 ̶ Opinions on Implementing the Project to Inherit and Develop Excellent Traditional Chinese Culture. The document was jointly issued by the Central General Office of the Communist Party and General Office of the State Council of China, which aims to advocate and carry forward traditional Chinese culture." However, "the said document makes no mention of boycotting Western festivals," leaving Chinese netizens wondering about why the Christmas imagery was digitally blurred and blanked out on Christmas Eve.
Below is HK01's article:
Blockage Of Christmas Decorations 'Sparked Heated Debate'
"A backlash against Christmas in mainland China has continued to attract attention in recent years. The latest variety show on Hunan Weishi (Satellite TV) has sparked heated debate among netizens after some of its Christmas decorations were blocked.
"On Dec 24, the sixth season of Star Detective, a variety show on Hunan Weishi's Mango TV (MGTV), premiered on the same day. The Christmas decorations in the show were obscured, causing a heated debate among netizens as to whether it was due to the boycott of the 'foreign festival.'
"According to public information, the Star Detective show is a set of star reasoning reality show, and the team in the new season includes He Jiong, Sa Beining, Bai Jingting, Zhang Ruoyun and other stars. In the latest episode, the story takes place in a large hotel, which is decorated with many Christmas decorations, but the Christmas trees, Christmas garlands and so on are all blurred out. In addition, some artists' Christmas hair accessories are covered with yellow hat patterns, but some Christmas ribbons and Christmas gift decorations are not covered.
'Almost All' Christmas Tree Images Of The Set Background 'Are Blurred Out'
"However, as long as a set is dominated by the venue background, almost all of its images are blurred out, so that even the characters in the show cannot be seen clearly. Because the area of fuzzy processing is too large, it seriously affects the look and feel, attracting many netizens to criticize. Some netizens questioned whether this was because the government did not allow the public to celebrate the 'foreign festival.' Some viewers said it was unnecessary to overcorrect, even in order to 'boycott foreign festivals,' while others said: 'Wouldn't it be OK to localize Christmas?'
Video Recording With Christmas Elements On Set Sparks Discussion, If Images Are Banned
"Some viewers were puzzled as to why the program should be recorded at the site, since they did not want to show Christmas elements. Some analysts said the program's tactics were intended to deflect attention and quell the uproar caused by some anchors on Hunan Satellite TV accepting lavish gifts from fans. Some netizens also recalled the incident last month when a female dormitory manager at Harbin Institute of Technology was reported by a student for delivering chocolates to students on Thanksgiving Day, a foreign festival from the United States, saying that the show's handling of the Christmas elements was to prevent 'settling scores' in the future.
'No Sign Of A Pause In The Debate On Whether To Celebrate Christmas On Mainland China'
"In recent years, there has been no sign of a pause in the debate on whether to celebrate Christmas on mainland China. A group of 10 postdocs from Peking University, Tsinghua University and other prestigious universities sent an open letter just before Christmas of 2006, asking Chinese people to boycott Christmas and resist the invasion of foreign soft power.
"There are also some rumors that 'the country will take actions against foreign festivals, and the central government will boycott Christmas, since then China will only observe traditional festivals.' In 2018, rumors surfaced online that the Cyberspace Information Bureau had asked for Christmas messages to be banned. However, the Yunnan Internet police denied the rumor at the time, saying that China did not have a department named 'Cyberspace Information Bureau' and that the Office of the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission had not issued such a notice.
'Christmas Boycott Directive' Stems From 2017 CCP Document
"According to mainland China's media, the 'Christmas boycott' directive stems from a document issued by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in 2017 ̶ Opinions on Implementing the Project to Inherit and Develop Excellent Traditional Chinese Culture. The document was jointly issued by the Central General Office of the Communist Party and General Office of the State Council of China, which aims to advocate and carry forward traditional Chinese culture. The document elaborates on festivals as follows: Carry out the theme activities of 'Our Festival,' implement the revitalization project of traditional Chinese festivals, enrich the cultural connotations of traditional festivals such as the Spring Festival, Lantern Festival and Tomb Sweeping Day, and form new festival customs. But the said document makes no mention of boycotting Western festivals.
"However, several cities or schools in the mainland did impose restrictions on Christmas activities. In 2017, the Committee of Shenyang Medical University of the Communist Youth League issued a controversial document banning student organizations of the Communist Youth League from holding Christmas celebrations, but the document did not restrict individual students from celebrating Christmas. Before Christmas in 2018, a primary school in Sixian county, Anhui province conducted education themed 'Boycotting foreign festivals starts with me.' During the event, the schoolmaster gave a speech titled 'Christmas is a disgrace to the Chinese people,' saying that it was the Western holidays that 'brought a great shame to China.'
Communist Populist Global Times: OK Not To promote Christmas, But 'Banning' Is 'Incompetence'
"In response to the controversy, Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the state-run media Global Times, said, 'It will not not be long before Chinese culture has made a strong comeback. At present, there is nothing wrong with Chinese society advocating some traditional festivals, keeping a distance from foreign festivals and not actively promoting Christmas. It is even more normal that party members are strictly restricted. It is understandable that we have advocated more traditional festivals, and there is nothing wrong that we should not actively promote foreign festivals. However, issuing a notice and banning them is obviously the practice of incompetence and inertia.'
"Ding Xueliang, a sociologist and distinguished professor at Shenzhen University, said in an interview with the BBC that many young people see Christmas only as an opportunity to party, rather than a religious holiday. Therefore, Christmas should not be contrasted with traditional Chinese festivals. He believes that the reason why some young people seem more enthusiastic about 'foreign festivals' is that the rapid development of China has led to 'the disappearance of the socio-economic factors underpinning traditional Chinese festivals.' He said: 'It is difficult for young people nowadays to understand the traditional festivals built on China's traditional farming civilization.'"
 https://www.hk01.com/%E5%8D%B3%E6%99%82%E4%B8%AD%E5%9C%8B/566261/%E6%8A%B5%E5%88%B6%E8%81%96%E8%AA%95%E9%A2%A8%E6%BD%AE%E5%86%8D%E8%B5%B7-%E5%85%A7%E5%9C%B0%E7%B6%9C%E8%97%9D-%E6%98%8E%E6%98%9F%E5%A4%A7%E5%81%B5%E6%8E%A2-%E9%81%AE%E6%93%8B%E8%81%96%E8%AA%95%E5%85%83%E7%B4%A0%E6%83%B9%E8%AD%B0, December 25, 2020