Christmas here means shopping

December 25, 2009 | Posted by Chris

Malls throughout Beijing have been fervently promoting the Christmas holiday in an effort to increase their sales, according to the Christian Science Monitor. Perhaps coming as little surprise to outsiders, malls this week have been consistently playing Christmas jingles and showcasing elaborate holiday decorations that feature poinsettia flowers, gold tinsel Christmas trees and lots of flashing lights. This is all fine by the locals, who may regard holiday gift-giving at Christmas time a symbol of living well. "Christmas is just a festival very important for foreigners. It is the same as Spring Festival for the Chinese people," explains a Chinese shopper named Cherry. This general indifference to spiritual aspects of the holiday is understandable in a country where only 3-4% of its population (about 40-100 million people) describe themselves as Christian. Religion in China is a complex issue with lots of historical context.

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