With an estimated 700 million viewers, China’s Spring Festival Gala is one of the world’s most watched television shows. The show has become a major part of China’s Lunar New Years celebration but has come under fire for one of its skits.
The particular skit is supposed to celebrate the new Chinese-built high-speed rail system in Kenya but comes off as offensive. The skit opens with a group of African dancers and women who are said to be workers for the new rail system.
It then transitions to a conversation between the host and his African friend who asks him to pretend to be her boyfriend so that she can get out of a blind date. The real problem presents itself with the appearance of her mother.
The skit features Chinese actress, producer, and director, Lou Naiming playing the part of the African mother. When she enters the scene she is wearing blackface and sporting exaggerated fake buttocks.
She is also accompanied by her pet monkey – who is played by an African performer in costume – leading to even more comments about the show’s display of racism.
The skit has caused an explosion of shocked comments on twitter as well as being called ’embarrassing’ by many netizens around the world.
CCTV’s racist show during Spring Gala shook me and made me so ashamed of China and my people. They literally had blackface on stage, had an African actor to play a monkey and a African actress yelling “I love China!” Racism is global y’all…
— Huizit (@iamHuizit) February 16, 2018
— Ještě Nevečeřela (@jestenevecerela) February 15, 2018
ugh the sketch on Africa during the @CCTV Spring Festival Gala (possibly the most watched show in the world) was cringeworthy at best, completely racist at worst. It's Africa, so bring out tribal dancers & animals? And was that a Chinese woman in blackface with a fake posterior?
— Parthepan (@KTParthepan) February 15, 2018
CHINA WHYYYYY. i'm watching the cctv spring festival new year's gala and there's straight up blackface, i just don't know what to do with this level of offensive oh my GOD
— 雨曦 ｡◕‿◕｡ (@yuxisushi) February 15, 2018
Needless to say, the Chinese Lunar Year celebration was less than celebratory.