Christmas in Suzhou

(Post lifted from China Hand, an Australian expatriate teaching in China)

The politically correct brigade in Australia and elsewhere, and the (minority) Muslim/Jewish bandwagon riders might like to note that here in China where Christians are a tiny minority, Christmas is publicly celebrated with more enthusiasm than in Oz. My college, Suzhou HKU SPACE Global College, which is a Malaysian-HK-local university joint venture is decked out with Christmas decoration and the lift lobby plastered with notices of Christmas parties.

Department stores everywhere in Suzhou are decorated and Christmas carols blare from every speaker. Restaurants and bars are covered in fake holly and Santa faces. I haven't seen a Santa Claus in the flesh yet but he can't be far away.

Our school, which has Christians amongst its leaders, has organized a Christmas Eve dinner. One of my colleagues did demure when it was suggested, saying "I can't go, I'm a Buddhist!". I heard he was one of the first to confirm his attendance.

Since the 1980's local Chinese friends - some known for their hard line against the Open Door policy - have been sending me Christmas cards. Sure it might be just Western Chic, but it is rather touching to an old Scrooge like me!

It seems China leads Australia in multiculturalism and tolerance!

Comments? Email John Ray

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