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Christmas – once banned in China – has exploded in the atheist nation in recent years, with marketeers using everything from saxophones and Smurfs to steam trains to get shoppers to open their wallets.In fact in China almost anything seen as Western is used to evoke Christmas: teddy bears, the Seven Dwarves, fairground carousels or even steam trains.The commercial importance of Christmas in China is typified in the eastern city of Yiwu, which supplies some 60 percent of the world's decorations, where a dip in international orders has been filled by domestic demand.The rise of Christmas has also been driven by the swelling ranks of Christians in the world's most populous country. The last official figures, from 2010, say there are 23 million Protestants and 5.7 million Catholics in China, but some estimate they could number several times more than that.Some in China see the rise of Christmas as stemming more from the weakening of traditional values.
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