At least four Chinese cities and one county have ordered Christmas decorations banned this year. The Associated Press has found that churches were warned to keep minors away from Christmas, and at least ten schools nationwide have curtailed Christmas on campus.
Christmas remains a shopping festival across most of China, but an emphasis on traditional culture from the highest levels of China’s ruling Communist Party and systematic suppression of religion under President Xi Jinping are imperiling Santa Claus.
It’s difficult to get a comprehensive view of how widespread Christmas bans are, but scholars say they are intensifying under Xi. They don’t appear to be a centrally organized purge of Santa Claus, but rather an accumulating resistance to foreign festivals by local authorities seeking to align themselves with growing cultural nationalism.