Christmas on Ice

I had thought that this year attending Christmas Eve or Christmas Day services would need to be in Chinese, since, as I mentioned before, English language religious services have not been allowed to resume yet in Shanghai. But Chinese services had strictly limits placed on the number of attendees, and there wasn’t enough supply to meet the demand. Foreigners were having secret “lunches” and “dinners” just so they could celebrate Christmas in a religious way.


I don’t like talking about politics much, and I’m not not one to be alarmist about the CCP, even as it becomes increasingly authoritarian in its actions. But this Christmas, I did feel something kind of like a vice tightening on foreigners’ already limited religious freedom here. There’s definitely been an increased sense of “we’re not really wanted here” in the foreign community in Shanghai this year.

We’ll see what 2021 holds… Once the vaccine becomes widely available, the situation will become clearer.


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. I think it’s out of an abundance of caution towards reimported cases. Plus a god excuse to clamp down….

  2. I always assumed it was the former, but lately it’s feeling more and more like the latter.

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