BEIJING: A comedy skit on China’s most popular television show, aired on the eve of the Lunar New Year, has triggered anger online amid charges of racism.
Intended to celebrate ties with Africa, the skit had a Chinese actress with her face painted black and wearing fake buttocks. It also had an African performer playing the role of a monkey. It appeared on national broadcaster China Central Television’s annual Spring Festival Gala, a variety programme watched by hundreds of millions every year.
According to the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post, the scene was “lambasted as disgusting and completely racist online after it aired on Thursday night”.
“The scene opened with a performance by African dancers and an appearance by a group of black women who were staff on the new Chinese-built Kenyan fast train – but it was the following mini-play that caused uproar online,” SCMP reported.
“The sketch drew a mixed reaction on Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter, with some viewers praising the segment as the highlight of the entire gala, but others questioned how the segment could pass content screening as it promoted colonialism and displayed Chinese arrogance about Africa.”
This is not the first time that Chinese entertainment shows or advertisements have been caught up in allegations of racism.
In 2016, an ad for a detergent called Qiaobi depicted a black man wearing dirty clothes and carrying a tin of paint entering a room and trying to flirt with an Asian woman. The woman is then showed feeding him the detergent drop and pushing him into the washing machine. Soon after, a light-skinned Asian man is shown emerging from the machine.
Last year, during the military standoff between India and China near the Sikkim border, official news agency Xinhua released a racist video mocking and parodying Indians. The over 3-minute video, titled “7 Sins of India: Its time for India to confess its seven sins”, depicts a turbaned Indian and parodies the way Indians are perceived to speak English.__Hindustan Times