China outraged by ‘racist’ Spanish TV sketch

China's embassy in Spain has demanded an apology from Spanish TV channel Telecinco after a 'vulgar' and 'insulting' comedy sketch they aired during their New Year Gala caused anger across the Asian superpower.

China outraged by 'racist' Spanish TV sketch
Numerous Chinese news channels, newspapers and social media websites have given coverage to the story, including China’s main state-run broadcaster CCTV. Photo: Screenshot CCTV

Chinese diplomat in Spain Huang Yazhong has written a letter to the chairman of Telecinco demanding an explanation for a sketch which mocks the quality and service of Chinese restaurants.

"In the show titled Mesa para Dos (Table for Two), a clown wearing strange 'Chinese clothes' jumped up and down, making all sorts of exaggerated gestures," he wrote in the letter published on the Chinese embassy's website.

"What's more, the other actors openly insulted Chinese people using words so vulgar it would make any educated person blush."

One of the comments Huang refers to in his letter to Telecinco is “este Chino es gilipollas”, which translates to 'This Chinese guy is a moron'.

Numerous Chinese news channels, newspapers and social media websites have given coverage to the story, including China's main state-run broadcaster CCTV.

Telecinco already angered China in 2013 when they aired an ‘investigative journalism’ show which accused Chinese restaurants of serving cat, dog and even human meat.

As a result, 500 Chinese residents in Spain took to the streets of Madrid to protest against the damaging allegations made by Telecinco.

"Tele 5 is a commercial TV station and only cares about ratings, so 180,000 Chinese people is a small enough audience to ignore," wrote Huang.

"But let me warn you: behind these 180,000 Chinese people stand 1.3 billion Chinese people from the world’s most populous nation and second largest economy."

Back in 2008, a photo of the Spanish men's Olympics basketball team, using their index fingers as if to slant their eyes, also sparked controversy with Asian rights groups.

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How to celebrate Chinese New Year in Madrid

With a Chinese population estimated at 62,000, Madrid is full of celebrations for the Year of The Rat.

How to celebrate Chinese New Year in Madrid
Photo: Ayuntamiento de Madrid

The barrio of Usera is the hub of celebrations this weekend as it is home to a large Chinese community in Madrid.

Centred around Plaza Junta Distrito Usera where a huge stage had been set up there will be performances, workshops, food trucks starting from Friday at 5pm as well as sculptures including a giant panda.

Workshops include face painting for children, chinese chess (xiangqi) and storytelling as well as theatre shows, a market and musical concerts.

On Friday night the Chinese-born influencer Yon Li will kick off the party on a stage set up in Plaza Junta Distrito Usera where there will be diverse rap and pop artists playing until 10pm.

On the same stage on Saturday there are concerts for kids during the day followed by music in the evening.

At 6pm on Saturday head to Parque Pradolongo for a Light show and on Sunday in Parque Olof Palme there is a display of acrobatics by the Chinese circus.

But the celebrations aren’t confined to the Usera district.

Madrid’s Puerta de Alcala will be lit up especially for the Chinese New Year on Friday and Saturday and Chinese restaurants across the city are offering special New Year tasting menus. Check out the list here:

For a full list of events and activities take a look at the official programme.

Happy New Year!