Christmas crackdown a sign of Chinese government’s growing intolerance

PUBLISHED : Friday, 12 January, 2018, 4:53pm
UPDATED : Friday, 12 January, 2018, 10:19pm

I found it disgraceful that a major global power would be so intolerant towards an important festival (“Why China’s war on Christmas is gathering pace”, December 23).

The authorities feared that the so-called Western influence brought by Christmas would be a threat to the communist leadership, despite the fact that protection of religious freedom is stated in the Chinese constitution. Instead, the authorities stressed anti-Christmas propaganda to party members and students using the excuse that they were “promoting patriotic Chinese culture”.

The beliefs represented by Christmas are not in conflict with traditional Chinese values and obviously they can coexist. For Chinese Christians, Christmas is not only a time for reconciliation with God, but also an opportunity to meet with family members. Over this festive period, they were being discriminated against simply because of their faith.

Western nations would not ban Chinese New Year celebrations or any other Chinese festivals, so why is Beijing taking this intolerant stand towards Christmas?

Christians had already been suffering the closure late last year of some churches by regional governments. There have been incidents where churches have been demolished. Many Christians now fearing reprisals are worshipping in secret. These congregations just want to be able to practise their faith. None of them are seeking to overthrow the communist regime. They do not pose a threat to the state.

I do not see how the Vatican could consider establishing diplomatic ties with China until the suppression of Christians in the country comes to an end.

I hope young people in Hong Kong will continue to take an interest in the nation’s affairs and call for the improvements that are needed in the country, including greater tolerance by the leaders of views that are different from their own.

Anfield Tam, Quarry Bay