Chinese state TV had recently included dancers with blackface in order to portray Africans at the time of the national broadcast while Asia was welcoming the Lunar New Year of Ox. The subdued festivities that took place on Friday meanwhile the travel curbs have been renewed to contain the recent coronavirus outbursts.
The Thursday performance of ‘African Song & Dance’ was the opening performance of this Spring Festival of Gala. It is arguably the most-watched TV program in the world. This is done by the Chinese dancers of African-style outfits along with a darkened face makeup and beating drums.
African-Style Lunar New Year Gala
The 5-hour yearly program that is broadcasted by the state TV in the preceding years is seen by almost 800 million global viewers. This years’ Lunar New Year celebrations gave tributes to doctors, nurses, and medical authorities who have fought and shown great courage in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic which started in China in late 2019.
The holiday festivities are usually the busiest season for tourism. However, this years’ Lunar New Year time has been subdued owing to the travel restrictions and the government policies to avoid large public gatherings.
The ruling party of China is trying to promote unanimity with African countries as they are developing countries. Nonetheless, the state broadcaster is facing criticism and immense backlash over using blackface to represent African people in the Lunar New Year gala. This form of celebration is seen as a cultural appropriation.
Black Livity is a group of African people who work in China. They have posted to express their disappointment over the celebratory pattern of the state TV.