As Christmas draws near, ten philosophy and education PhD students from China's top universities jointly publicized a petition on the Internet, calling on netizens, especially the young, to be less excited about the exotic holiday, Shanghai-based Xmnext.com reported December 21, 2006.
This is the latest instance of public resistance to western culture and lifestyles in China. In the online petition, titled "Out of Cultural Collective Unconsciousness, Strengthen Chinese Cultural Dominance" and dated with traditional Chinese Era Calendar, PhD students from China's most authoritative universities including Beida, Tsinghua and People's University hope to "wake up the Chinese people to resist western cultural invasion".
According to the petition, "occidental culture has been more like storms sweeping through the country rather than mild showers," and cites the prevalence of Christmas celebrations as a typical example.
According to the petition, in China, "when Christmas nears, shopping centres, restaurants and hotels have decorated Christmas trees, Christmas messages flood the Internet, newspapers, TV and radio programs, hundreds of millions text messages are sent by cell phones, friends exchange Christmas greetings when they meet each other, and people revel until very late on Christmas Eve." The petition claims that the ancient oriental nation of China is shifting towards becoming a western society.
The authors of the petition claim that celebrating Christmas is a personal decision, but most Chinese join in the celebrations without clearly knowing the origin of the holiday.
One of the reasons for this, according to the authors is a failure on the part of the government to maintain Chinese traditions while encouraging the economy. Retailers and other business people are also to blame for using the festival to boost business. On Christmas Eve, people must wait for seats at nearly every restaurant in Beijing and other cities in China.
The petition goes on to state that this case should not be seen as an isolated phenomenon as American and European culture expand throughout China along with their technological and economic domination.
It seems the petition will not receive much support, judging from the large number of critical responses on the Internet. And it's likely it will be drowned out in the mainstream, where Christmas and Valentine's Day are becoming more popular than the Spring Festival among youngsters.
On the same day another report from the Henan Business News in central China's Henan Province said a commercial chamber was planning a nude running event on the evening of December 24, and had received more than 1,700 applications to join in the activity.
Just like Christmas, western cultures and festivals have entered people's daily lives in China, but a large number of Chinese still need to learn more about their background and the deeper meanings behind the social events so they don't blindly copy something they don't understand.