Chinese University Bans Christmas is a headline ripped from the Guardian. It’s at times like these I feel the urge to dig into background. Here’s their photo.
Christianity has a long tradition in China. It turns out that its original form there was an eastern strand long regarded as heretical.
The university concerned lies in a city called Xi’an, which used to be known as Chang’an, when it was also the capital of China. This was where Christianity was first established in China. There’s a range of estimates for when that happened: sometime between 451 and 635 AD. That was a form of Christianity advanced by Nestorius (386-450) and was known as the Church of the East. Deemed heretical by the First Council of Ephesus (431), it began to flourish —China became a metropolitan province centred on Chang’an. Islam was introduced to China by 651 AD, again through Chang’an.
Over the centuries, Christianity declined but was reintroduced by the Turco-Mongol hordes (the Mongols were animist). The nomadic hordes ended up embracing Islam, their only significant Christian output being the Cossacks. Around 1340 as part of the forcible conversion of Christian inhabitants to Islam, a Muslim mob murdered the Latin bishop in Almaliq, Tangut (now Xinjiang). The Ming dynasty kicked out many non-Chinese influences when they overthrew the Mongol Yuan (1368); this included curbing the Church of the East.
As far as Christianity is concerned, there’s some form for it being in Xi’an; there’s also some form for it being suppressed; that is: Nestorianism suppressed in both East and West.