A policeman patrols under a giant communist emblem on the Tiananmen Square

Soon after it warmed its members against harbouring religious beliefs and threatened 'disciplinary’ action, the Chinese Communist Party has issued notices forbidding its members from celebrating Christmas, reportedly calling the religious day “Western spiritual opium” and “China’s day of shame.”

According to the South China Morning Post, members of the Communist Party’s Youth League at the University of South China in Hunan province were recently asked to sign a code of conduct which asked them not to take part in Christmas.

Christmas ban notice issued by the Communist Party

The movement against Christianity is no longer limited to university campuses and has spread to Chinese social media. Party’s Youth League published posts on WeChat, reminding young Chinese of the 'invasion' by westerners and asking them to remain away from Christmas celebrations.

“Communist Party members must be role models in abiding to the faith of communism and are not allowed to have superstitions and blindly follow the opium of Western spirits,” the statement, signed the Youth League, read.

According to some notices, all scheduled Christmas events have to be cancelled.

The ban on Christmas celebrations comes after the party reportedly placed restrictions on celebrating Valentine’s Day, Easter, April Fool’s day, and Halloween.

Although movement against Western festivals - Christmas is particular - emerged about a decade ago under Confucian scholars claiming to be fighting against ‘cultural invasion’ by the West, the Communist Party seems to have officially adopted it now. The movement is in line with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s idea of a national cultural revival and fits the Communist Party’s ideology.

According to experts, the crackdown on events with religious connotations has intensified after the introduction of Regulations on Religious Affairs by the State Council in February this year.

Unlike other parts of the world, Christmas is not a public holiday in China, where the ruling party is officially atheist.

In theory, the party claims to give Chinese citizens the right to practice and profess the religion of their choice. In practice, however, it keeps tight controls on religious activities throughout the country using its sophisticated surveillance set-up.

"The fact that party members have forsaken the party's world view of dialectical materialism and have turned to religion is now attracting serious concern, to the extent that it now falls within the purview of disciplinary work," the mouthpiece of the party's Commission for Discipline Inspection had said in an article in 2015.

The ban comes even as the country makes most of the world’s artificial Christmas trees and Santa Claus costumes to be shipped across the globe. Over 600,000 Christmas trees and three million decorations have been bought this year, according to marketing research company China Skinny.