Chinese TV features blackface performers in New Year’s gala

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese state TV included dancers in blackface depicting Africans in a holiday gala for the second time in three years, prompting criticism online, as Asia welcomed the Year of the Ox with subdued festivities amid travel curbs to contain renewed coronavirus outbreaks. China Central Television’s Spring Festival Gala is one of the world’s most-watched TV programs. The “African Song and Dance” performance included dancers in African-style costumes and dark face makeup beating drums. The five-hour program also included tributes to nurses, doctors and others who fought the coronavirus pandemic. Festivities throughout East Asia are muted after governments appealed to the public to avoid travel and big gatherings.