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A City in Northern China Bans Christmas Sales

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Places to visit this Christmas

A city in northern China has banned Christmas sales and decorations to keep the city clean for an upcoming award function.

The authorities in Langfang, however, clarified the move is not targeted at Christmas.

An officially atheist country, China dissuades its people from celebrating Christmas, calling it a Western religious culture which has a wrong influence on its youth.

Christianity is one of the five recognised religions in China.

The Urban Management Bureau of Langfang in north China’s Hebei province issued a notice on Sunday that bans Christmas trees on streets, the Chinese state media reported.

Stores are not allowed to put up posters, banners or light boxes about Christmas sales. Outdoor performances to celebrate the holiday or promote sales are also prohibited.

City peddlers are forbidden from selling Christmas related items like Christmas apples, Santa costumes and stockings or Christmas trees, the Global Times said.

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Chinese city bans Christmas sales. VOA

All bureau employees are required to be on duty from December 23 to Christmas Day to inspect Christmas-theme promotions, the notice said.

The notice, which has been circulating online, said that religious activities in public spaces such as parks and squares around Christmas must be closely monitored and reported to senior authorities.

An employee from the bureau, who demanded anonymity, told the Global Times on Monday that the action was not targeted at Christmas but was an effort to pass the annual rating of “National Civilized Cities”.

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The National Civilized City award, presented every three years based on annual ratings, represents the highest honour to a city as it has strict standards in a variety of aspects, including the city’s social development, economy, infrastructure construction and public services.

“Managing roadside stalls and migrant vendors is our routine work. Christmas is a time when such illegal activities are prevalent,” the employee said, noting that retailers usually seize on the holiday to sell goods, sometimes in unlawful ways.

Last year, a Chinese university Shenyang had banned Christmas celebration on the campus. (IANS)

Next Story

Google Claims It Has “No Plans” To Relaunch A Search Engine in China

Technology companies have recently been a favorite target of many members of the U.S. Congress, who have criticized them over a wide range of issues such as privacy, work in China and allowing foreign meddling in U.S. elections.

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Google
The Chinese flag is seen near the Google sign at the Google china headquarters in Beijing, China. VOA

The United States’ top general said on Thursday that the Chinese military was benefiting from the work Alphabet Inc’s Google was doing in China, where the technology giant has long sought to have a bigger presence.

“The work that Google is doing in China is indirectly benefiting the Chinese military,” Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

“We watch with great concern when industry partners work in China knowing that there is that indirect benefit,” he said.

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Lawmakers and Google employees have raised concerns the company would comply with China’s internet censorship and surveillance policies if it re-enters the Asian nation’s search engine market. Pixabay

“Frankly, ‘indirect’ may be not a full characterization of the way it really is, it is more of a direct benefit to the Chinese military.”

Last year Google said it was no longer vying for a $10 billion cloud computing contract with the U.S. Defense Department, in part because the company’s new ethical guidelines do not align with the project.

In June, Google said it would not renew a contract to help the U.S. military analyze aerial drone imagery when it expires, as the company sought to defuse an internal uproar over the deal.

At the same time, Google said it has “no plans” to relaunch a search engine in China, though it is continuing to study the idea.

During the hearing, Republican Senator Josh Hawley sharply criticized the tech company, referring to it as “a supposedly American company.”

FILE - Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., speaks during a hearing of a Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington, March 6, 2019.
Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., speaks during a hearing of a Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington, March 6, 2019. VOA

Technology companies have recently been a favorite target of many members of the U.S. Congress, who have criticized them over a wide range of issues such as privacy, work in China and allowing foreign meddling in U.S. elections.

Lawmakers and Google employees have raised concerns the company would comply with China’s internet censorship and surveillance policies if it re-enters the Asian nation’s search engine market.

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Asked about Dunford’s comments, Google referred to previous statements.

Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai has previously said the company has invested in China for years and plans to continue to do so, but that the company also was continuing to work with the U.S. government on projects in health care, cybersecurity and other fields. (VOA)