Chinese university denounces Christmas as 'kitsch,' foreign

A Chinese university did its best to keep students from celebrating Christmas.

The school in northwestern China denounced Christmas as "a 'kitsch' foreign celebration unbefitting of the country's own traditions," reports Reuters news agency. 

To make sure students didn't ignore the ban, the Modern College of Northwest University in Xian forced its students to spent Christmas Day watching Chinese Communist Party propaganda films.

It goes without saying those films did not include Kirk Cameron's "Saving Christmas." The movie has been a surprise hit throughout the United States this holiday season -- held over nationwide beyond its scheduled two-week limited run.

Preventing the spread of Christmas celebration was the intent of the Chinese school, which "strung up banners around the campus reading: 'Strive to be outstanding sons and daughters of China, oppose kitsch Western holidays' and 'Resist the expansion of Western culture,'" reported Reuters.

A state-run Chinese newspaper reported that students were warned they would be punished if they did not attend a mandatory three-hour screening of propaganda films with teachers standing guard to stop students from leaving.

"There's nothing we can do about it, we can't escape," the student was quoted as saying.

"An official microblog belonging to one of the university's Communist Party's committees posted comments calling for students not to 'fawn on foreigners' and pay more attention to China's holidays, like Spring Festival," reported Reuters.

"In recent years, more and more Chinese have started to attach importance to Western festivals," it wrote.

"In their eyes, the West is more developed than China, and they think that their holidays are more elegant than ours, even that Western festivals are very fashionable and China's traditional festivals are old fashioned."

Christmas is not a traditional festival in officially atheist China, however, it is growing in popularity, particularly in more metropolitan areas where a growing number of people are celebrating the holiday, giving gifts and decorating their homes.

"Western culture, particularly in the form of U.S. pop culture, is wildly popular with young, educated Chinese, which occasionally causes discomfort for the generally quite conservative ruling Communist Party," noted Reuters.

The Xian university isn't the only Chinese entity opposing Christmas. "Wenzhou, a city in the wealthy eastern province of Zhejiang, has banned all Christmas activities in schools and kindergartens, the official Xinhua news agency reported. Inspectors would make sure rules are enforced, it added," according to Reuters.