News / Asia

    Christmas is Big Business for Chinese Village

    Christmas is Big Business for Xitan, China's 'Christmas Village'i
    X
    December 20, 2013 3:33 PM
    In China’s “Christmas Village,” there are many signs of the annual holiday, but this year -- no public celebrations. VOA’s Bill Ide visited the place where Christmas ornaments remain big business, even though the holiday itself has been a source of controversy.
    In Xitan, China’s “Christmas Village,” it’s easy to see that holiday trinkets are big business. However, this Christmas, unlike in past years, there are no public celebrations or Christmas lights lining the streets.
     
    Xitan is nestled in the mountains of the eastern province of Zhejiang, just downstream from a large reservoir. The weather is cool this time of year, but there is definitely no snow and it’s nothing like Santa’s frigid North Pole workshop.
     
    Even so, Xitan shipped about $100 million in ornaments and decorations to places as far away as Europe, the United States and Brazil.
     
    Wang Lianming is the head of one of Xitan's earliest Christmas decoration companies, Ruian D-Bright Arts and Crafts, and the village party chief.
     
    Wang said that while the overseas market is still the main focus of D-Bright's business, interest in the holiday is growing in China as well.
     
    "In the past, Christmas was just a holiday celebrated overseas, few here in China knew much about it," he said. "But in recent years, celebration of the holiday in China has been catching on, as has the sale of ornaments and trinkets."
     
    Before D-Bright started handcrafting Christmas ornaments, it made disco balls, and still does. Like many other factories here, the company is branching out to make trinkets for other Western holidays as well, even Halloween and masks for Brazil's Carnival.
     
    Xitan is home to about 3,000 people. The narrow streets and surrounding hills make up a network of some 40 larger factories and around 200 smaller workshops.
     
    At one warehouse just outside of the village, a man surnamed Peng is dipping rows of ornament tops in a soupy, noxious-smelling paint. Peng is not from Xitan, but brought his family here to work.
     
    Peng said that while there are too many factories here and the environment is not as nice as his hometown in Hunan, the work puts food on the table.
     
    "I will go wherever the work is, as long as I can make some money that is all that matters," said Peng.
     
    Xitan has a large number Christian population, but some say it is the village's knack for handicrafts, not religion, that has made the making of ornaments such a staple industry here.
     
    One factory owner, Wang Songjiang, said he knows little about the meaning behind the decorations or the holiday.
     
    "Christmas is a holiday for foreigners, we don't really know what it is all about. It's enough for us to know that these ornaments are for the celebration of Christmas, and that we can do business and earn money," said Wang.
     
    However, for some in Xitan, Christmas is a time of religious celebration. At times, that has given rise to controversy. Two years ago, when the village was hosting a celebration of the town's Christmas industry, some say local Christians turned the activity into a religious affair. Local Christians say authorities "pulled the plug" on an approved event.
     
    Village party chief Wang Lianming said the event was canceled because it was felt that a religious tone was inappropriate for the ceremony. "We stopped holding the celebration because of religious issues and the religious tone some wanted to give to the event. It is not right to take a cultural event and turn it into a religious event," said Wang.
     
    Wang said the event was meant to be more a celebration of how Xitan has made a name for itself, and its ability to create and find business opportunities, than a celebration of the holiday itself.

    You May Like

    Russian-Backed Offensive in Syria Pushes War to Tipping Point

    As threat to Aleppo and rebel forces grows, US plan to negotiate becomes less and less appealing for Syrian government, says one military analyst

    IS Runs Timber Smuggling Business in Afghanistan, Officials Say

    Government turning blind eye to smuggling, according to tribal leaders; Afghanistan's forest cover dropped by 50 percent in three decades, experts say

    Video White House Seeks $1.8 Billion to Combat Zika

    Obama administration says funding would 'support essential strategies to combat the virus' such as rapidly expanding mosquito control programs, accelerating vaccine research

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: oldlamb from: Guangzhou
    December 23, 2013 9:27 AM
    Chinese always are not conscious of what they do is God's mission.With160 million people are Christians,China absolutely is the bigest Christian country in the world.Most of bibles(or handcrafting Christmas ornaments) in the world were produced in China,then sold to every corner of the world.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.