Christmas is a time for joy, cheer, and wonder. It’s a religious holiday for some and a day off for others. Either way, people usually make the most out of Christmas to celebrate. However, it appears that Chinese netizens heavily disagree with celebrating the jolly season.
Recently, Hong Kong actor Bobby Au Yeung (Ouyang Zhen Hua, 欧阳震华) came under fire for his Christmas video on Douyin. Chinese netizens strongly felt the actor should not be celebrating the holiday as it had nothing to do with the Chinese.
On Christmas Eve (24th December), the actor uploaded two videos to commemorate the celebration. In the first video, he wished netizens a Merry Christmas. In the second video, he danced to Christmas music while holding a present in front of a Christmas tree. Bobby looked very excited for the festival. Not only was he dressed up, he had also ensured the place was decorated well!
While some netizens appreciated the Christmas cheer, there were several who didn’t. Most remarked that Christmas was a Western holiday and therefore, should not be celebrated. “The Chinese nation has a rich and heavy traditional culture. Traditional festivals such as the Spring Festival, Lantern Festival, Qingming Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, and Mid-Autumn Festival carry the common cultural memory of our nation. They are our precious cultural resources. We must live our own festivals and be an excellent national culture,” one comment lectured.
Others cited the ‘history’ of “The Battle at Lake Changjin (长津湖)” which had aired in cinemas earlier this year. “Please delete this video,” one netizen directed. “We only have our own Spring Festival, please go to see “Lake Changjin”…” The movie supposedly showed the Chinese militia’s hardships while fighting the US forces during the Korean war. “Haven’t you watched the “Lake Changjin” movie?” a comment demanded. “You won’t have Christmas anymore. It’s (just) December 25th.”
Although many criticised the actor, there were those who felt the scrutiny was unnecessary. “The festival is just to find a reason to relax and have fun with friends,” one reasoned. Others pointed out that they used to celebrate Christmas cheerily and was a comfort from childhood till now. Unfortunately, in recent years, China has been heavily encouraging their citizens to avoid celebrating ‘foreign festivals’. On the other hand, they have been emphasizing on their own cultures and celebrations.
Although Bobby replied to negative comments with a seemingly apologetic emoji, the actor has not attempted to remove the videos. Additionally, he added a new video to his Douyin today to thank those who had supported him during the controversy.
It’s sad that Bobby’s attempts to spread the Christmas cheer around were not appreciated. We’re sure he meant no harm and merely wanted to wish people well during the celebration. He wasn’t the only one who faced backlash however. Malaysian singer Damien Mikhail also came under fire from netizens for the same thing.
Hopefully next year, people will be less Grinch-like and more good-willing.