Chinese New Year TV gala criticised for 'blackface' skit

Penang getting set for Lunar New Year

The mother was played by renowned actress Lou Naiming in blackface with a basket of fruit on her head.

Another commented: Ugh the sketch on Africa during the CCTV Spring Festival Gala (possibly the most watched show in the world) was cringe-worthy at best, completely racist at worst. Apparently meant to promote Sino-African friendship and Beijing's growing infrastructure investments on the continent, the skit on state television CCTV also featured a group of black dancers wearing grass skirts and feather headdresses alongside actors dressed up as zebras, giraffes and lions.

Since 1983, viewing at least part of the Spring Festival Gala on the state-run China Central Television network, or CCTV, has been a national tradition.

One of the most watched TV programmes on earth has been accused of racism after an actress used blackface to portray an African woman.

The plot of the 13-minute skit sees the presenter's African friend ask him to pose as her date to avoid a blind date her mother had set up for her.

The skit praises Chinese-African cooperation, showing how much Africans benefit from Chinese investment and how grateful they are to Beijing.

According to the BBC, the skit was set around people working on the Nairobi-Mombasa railway project.

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The sketch ended with the mother expressing Africa's love for China and the Chinese people in Chinese. This year's program will run for about four hours on Thursday night, and include songs, dance routines and comedy acts spotlighting China's provinces and various ethnic groups. And was that a Chinese woman in blackface with a fake posterior?

Think the Chinese internet would leave that one alone?

But while it seems like China's soft-power project is still a work in progress, every country has its faux pas - as long as there are clueless people. She's accompanied by a monkey, played by a black actor.

In China, the vast majority of people have no experience of interacting with black people and are less aware of Europe's and the US' history of slavery and racism.

The South China Morning post reported that posts critical on the Chinese social media site Wiebo were being censored.

An advert for a laundry detergent which aired in 2016 sparked widespread outcry.

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