During this Christmas Day in China students will be sitting annual exams and on strict government orders all institutions, including schools, not to celebrate, or display, any sign of the festival.
Yet, China manufactures four-fifth of Christmas decorations sold in the USA.
The government is in a bind. Its economy needs Christmas and not only for the export market. Young people like a reason to party and business enjoys the boost in local sales.
However, the authorities feel they must downplay the occasion as part of its efforts to remove foreign cultural and religious influences.
Christmas is (originally) a religious event and the government is in the midst of efforts to supress religion, especially Islam in its less developed West and Christianity in its highly developed East.
Religion is seen as a threat to the government’s assurance of a complete paradise in this world (if not now, in the next generation or the one after that).
Meanwhile, 100 million Christians in China will go about silently celebrating a wider understanding of human aspirations.
A Happy Christmas to All! Hugh.