Racism and the Belt and Road in CCTV’s Spring Festival Gala

Chenchen Zhang

In The Diplomat

A comedy sketch on CCTV’s Spring Festival Gala, possibly the most watched TV show in the world, has caused widespread controversies and accusations of racism in China and elsewhere. Especially in the English-language media, overwhelming attention has been paid to the use of blackface in the sketch, titled “The same joy, the same happiness.” However, debating solely whether wearing blackface itself should be considered a manifestation of racism in the Chinese context can be misleading. It may distract us from engaging in a historically informed discussion on racial issues in China and reflecting on what is politically at stake in the geopolitical narratives of the Spring Festival Gala.

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This project receives funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Grant Agreement No 722826.