One of the most watched TV programmes on earth has been accused of racism after an actress used blackface to portray an African woman.
The Chinese Lunar New Year gala included a comedy routine celebrating ties with the continent it has huge investment in.
At one point, an Asian actress appeared on stage in blackface – a practice that satirises black people – and wearing a pair of exaggerated buttocks.
She entered carrying a plate of fruit on her head, and is accompanied by what is thought to be a black actor in a monkey costume.
The skit came during a four-hour TV show aired on Thursday night celebrating Chinese New Year, which is watched annually by up to 800 million people.
The segment sees an African woman ask a Chinese man to pose as her husband when they meet her mother.
The older woman is wearing a traditional dress but proclaims after their conversation: “I love China!”
Despite some viewers suggesting it was not intended to be offensive, there was fierce reaction on social media.
“CCTV’s racist show during Spring Gala shook me and made me so ashamed of China and my people,” user Huizit wrote.
Another commented: “Ugh the sketch on Africa during the CCTV Spring Festival Gala (possibly the most watched show in the world) was cringe-worthy 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?”
And another wrote: “Imagine if the US State of the Union event had a white guy with yellow face, a rice farmer’s hat, buck teeth, and speaking in stereotypical Chinese accent.
“Think the Chinese internet would leave that one alone?”
The South China Morning post reported that posts critical on the Chinese social media site Wiebo were being censored.