CCTV New Year's Gala
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|CCTV New Year's Gala|
|Directed by||Huang Yihe|
|Presented by||Zhao Zhongxiang|
|Ending theme||"Can't Forget Tonight" (Chinese: 难忘今宵)|
|Country of origin||People's Republic of China|
|Running time||Around 270 minutes|
|Original network||China Central Television|
|Original release||12 February 1983 –|
|CCTV New Year's Gala|
|Commonly abbreviated as|
|Further abbreviated as|
The CCTV New Year's Gala, also known as the Spring Festival Gala, and commonly abbreviated in Chinese as Chunwan, is a Chinese New Year special produced by China Media Group (CMG). It is broadcast annually on the eve of Chinese New Year on its flagship CCTV-1 and internationally through the China Global Television Network The Gala has the largest audience of any entertainment show in the world, and is recognized by Guinness World Records as the world's most watched television program. The 2018 edition of the Gala attracted more than one billion viewers.
The program is a variety show, often featuring music, dance, comedy, and drama performances. It has become a ritual for many Chinese families, including overseas Chinese, to watch the show on Chinese New Year's Eve. Many Chunwan performers have emerged as household names in China solely as a result of their recurring appearances on the program.
In the early 1980s, CCTV director Huang Yihe proposed the idea of hosting a televised party to celebrate the Chinese New Year, and the first CCTV New Year's Gala aired in 1983. Operating on a very low budget, Huang was given a studio of 600 square metres (6,500 sq ft), which could accommodate only 60 staff members and 200 guests. With no money for recording and editing, the show was improvised and broadcast live. It was hosted by Liu Xiaoqing, Ma Ji, Jiang Kun, and Wang Jingyu, and the studio had four telephones accepting live requests from callers nationwide. The popular singer Li Guyi ended the night with nine performances, and the co-host Jiang Kun performed three xiangsheng comedies. Huang and his colleagues took considerable political risk broadcasting the live show, as pop singers such as Li Guyi were at the time under attack by hardliners as "spiritual pollution", and one of her most popular songs, Hometown Love (乡恋), was still officially banned. With the permission from Wu Lengxi, the Minister of Radio and Television who was in the audience, Li Guyi performed the song for the first time on national TV.
After the first New Year Gala proved a huge hit with viewers nationwide, Wu was tasked with directing the second edition. At the time, China and Britain were under intense negotiation over the Sino-British Joint Declaration on the status of Hong Kong. Huang came up with the idea of inviting the amateur Hong Kong singer Cheung Ming-man to perform at his show. It was then unprecedented for a Hong Kong entertainer to perform on Chinese TV and his request met significant resistance. Huang persistently lobbied government officials and eventually gained their approval. Cheung's performance of the patriotic song "My Chinese Heart" at the 1984 gala made him a household name in China.
The program has attracted extremely large audiences, which have grown significantly over the years. The CCTV New Year's Gala is the most watched television program in the world, with one billion viewers in 2018. As the Chinese New Year's Eve is a time when the family gathers, the typical situation involves a large 3-generation family gathered in front of their TV set while making dumplings for the first New Year's meal. The Gala adds a mood of celebration in the house as people laugh, discuss and enjoy the performance. It has become an ingrained tradition on Mainland China to watch the New Year's Gala on New Year's Eve. Rural areas that had previously been unfamiliar with concepts such as television would hold great gatherings on New Year's Eve to watch the program.
While Beijing has been the main event venue, the Gala of 1996 was the first to be broadcast also from separate studios in Nanjing and Shanghai, and that experience, since 2016, has become a permanent part of the night-long broadcast with the Gala not only staged live from the CCTV's Beijing studios but from four other major Chinese cities, to emphasize the network's and the event's national reach.
In 2011, Dashan made another appearance in the gala, alongside several foreign nationals of various ages, all engaging in fluent Mandarin conversation, including one of Russian nationality, an Australian and a Kenyan. The 2011 show was also noted for the appearances of various "ordinary people" performers who were selected by popular vote in a TV competition months prior.
The 'ordinary people' portrayals continued in 2012; several amateurs performed on the show. Coinciding with the rise of amateur performers is the decline of nationalist and political rhetoric. In both 2011 and 2012 versions of the Gala, imagery of national leaders were removed from the show. The 2012 gala was directed by Ha Wen, wife of host Li Yong. In a break with tradition, the 2012 Gala removed the announcements of embassies overseas sending New Year's greetings, as well as the "My Favorite New Year's Gala Act" voting announcement. It also did not conclude with a rendition of "Can't Forget Tonight", thus breaking the practice for the first time.
The 2013 version of the Gala, the 30th in its history, concluded with the return of "Can't Forget Tonight".
2015's Gala edition saw "Can't Forget Tonight" being accompanied by viewer-submitted videos from all over China singing the classic song.
The Gala is also broadcast with subtitles and since recently on air commentary on the China Global Television Network stations, with the latter also featuring blow by blow updates from China and abroad and in 2016 a panel discussion by experts. By midnight, all international channels end their simulcast to give way to live broadcast of the midnight Lunar New Year's Day fireworks and celebrations nationwide and from overseas.
Synopsis and features
Although the show has evolved greatly since its creation, its format and structure has remained largely consistent. The broadcast is primarily hosted by four people, all of whom are usually popular CCTV personalities. As a variety show which aims to appeal to as many different demographics as possible, the Gala traditionally features a number of different acts. Phone numbers are also provided for viewers so they can vote on their favorite act of the Gala; the results of the vote are revealed 15 days later during CCTV's Lantern Festival gala.
Comedy acts such as xiangsheng and sketches (such as those of Gala regular Zhao Benshan) are often featured, with the latter usually invoking real-life issues (such as unity, respect for the elderly, or education) that use the New Year's holiday as a frame for its social commentary. The hosts of the Gala itself are often incorporated into these comedy acts as well.
Musical acts are also featured during the Gala, featuring various genres of Chinese music ranging from traditional folk songs to modern C-pop acts. A medley of songs representing China's major minority ethnic groups (the Mongols, Manchus, Hui, Tibetans, Uyghurs, Miao, Zhuang among others) is also traditionally featured. Dance acts are also incorporated into the program, either alongside a live performer, or as a stand-alone act.
Performances of acrobatics and stage magic (often featuring foreign magicians) are also usually featured during the Gala. The emphasis on traditional Chinese arts performances such as Chinese opera has decreased over the years (and all but reduced to a 10-minute slot after midnight), since CCTV-3 airs its own New Year's special consisting exclusively of opera performances.
The final countdown to the New Year is led by the hosts near the end of the show; traditionally, the Gala has closed with a performance of the song "Can't forget tonight" (难忘今宵), originally performed by Li Guyi.
In the early days of the Gala in the 1980s, the show focused almost entirely on arts and entertainment. Programming that was chiefly political in nature was very rare, reflecting the general openness of Chinese society in the 1980s and the departure of Maoist political dogma from the lives of ordinary people. Communist Party leaders took an interest in the show as early as 1984, when then-General Secretary Hu Yaobang watched the show and resolved to learn how to sing "My Chinese Heart" by singer Cheung Ming-man. Then, in 1990, Communist Party General Secretary Jiang Zemin and Premier Li Peng appeared on the show, ostensibly to participate in the celebration rather than disseminate a political agenda; Jiang gave a speech expressing his well-wishes. This six-minute live segment was the only instance national leaders participated in the program in its history.
Programming with heavy political undertones began appearing in the gala in the 1990s. As audiences grew, the show became a ritualized event of national significance and experienced increased state involvement in its production. Often, segments of the show became devoted to celebrating the previous year's "national achievements" and a preview of significant events of the upcoming year. In 2008, state media reported that major officials from the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China and the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television were on scene during the gala's rehearsal to supervise its production. In that same year, a segment featuring migrant workers was inserted into the show on the recommendation of Premier Wen Jiabao.
Throughout the years, officials in charge of propaganda and media control, including Ding Guangen, Li Changchun, and Liu Yunshan, have paid visits to the Chunwan production team. Commenting on the political evolution of the Gala over the years, Takungpao said that Chunwan has evolved from a "year-end tea party" to a "conference for disseminating political propaganda.
Imagery of party leadership
Beginning in the 1990s, the show has consistently included one segment featuring a video montage of Communist Party leaders accompanied by background music. Shown every year were images of those considered paramount leaders, including Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, and Hu Jintao. In 2007 and 2008, the video footage featured the entire line-up of Politburo Standing Committee members. Between 2011 and 2014, imagery of national leaders were absent from the show, and the amount of political content varied from year to year. For example, the 2011 show featured a rendition of a patriotic song that emphasized Hu Jintao's Harmonious Society and Scientific Development Concept ideologies. In 2012 there was minimal political content, though parts of the show alluded to "building a strong nation" and the 18th Party Congress which was to be held in the fall of that year. The 2014 show, however, was again peppered with political enhancements throughout that paid homage to General Secretary Xi Jinping's "Chinese Dream" ideology, in addition to several nationalistic-themed songs. The 2015 show, reportedly one of the most closely managed affairs in years, prominently featured Xi Jinping's anti-corruption campaign, with three comedy routines being linked to the theme. In addition, in a remarkable departure from convention, the 2015 show also featured Xi Jinping exclusively in a lengthy video montage during an opera-style song entitled "Give my Heart to You". The heavy emphasis on political content continued in 2016; that edition, believed to be one of the most political affairs since the show's inception, saw a return of the more familiar line-up of national leaders. Since 2017, however, the gala has not shown imagery of national leaders, opting instead of showcase various aspects of economic development or nationalist themes.
National unity and Chinese reunification has been a theme on the show since the 1990s. For example, in 2009 and 2010, in response to criticism that Chunwan was too focused on the tastes and preferences of audiences from northern China, producers introduced a feature that involved a wide range of provincial TV stations to reflect regional differences and interests. In 2012, the New Year's countdown included the hosts reading out couplets in Shanghainese, Cantonese, and Henan dialect.
Every year, the program almost always involves performers from Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. In some years, the affiliation of artists with any of these entities were stated explicitly on screen, but this practice has not always been consistently applied. A similar practice was adopted for foreign artists.
The People's Liberation Army is featured in the show's programming every year, usually in the form of a song, although sometimes military-themed sketch comedies have also appeared. Many of the Gala's most prominent singers have a background in the performing arts troupe of the PLA, including Yan Weiwen, Song Zuying, Dong Wenhua and Peng Liyuan.
Workers Arena lighting effects (1985)
In 1985, the gala was held in the Workers Indoor Arena. It had a live audience dispersed throughout the arena. Production staff were not equipped with walkie-talkies, so they improvised their communication with artists, running around or gesturing from a distance to give cues. This made the show appear uncoordinated and exceptionally slow on television; the edition lasted over six hours and remains the longest gala on record. The live audience was also milling about the arena for the duration of the show, which was distracting and noisy for the television audience. It was most strongly criticized for its poor lighting effects that made the stage difficult to see.
Chen Peisi sues CCTV distributor (1998)
Chen Peisi and his artistic collaborator Zhu Shimao were household names in the 1990s, partly owing to their appearances on the gala. After their hit sketch piece in the 1998 show, a subsidiary of CCTV distributed their performances on VCD without gaining the pair's permission in advance. In 2000, Chen and Zhu sued the subsidiary and won; the court ordered restitution and rescinded their rights to Chen and Zhu's work. Thereafter, Chen and Zhu never appeared on the gala again.
Dark Three Minutes (2007)
In the 2007 edition, just before the clock struck midnight, the six hosts of the show assembled on stage suffered a mass breakdown referred to as the "dark three minutes". Zhu Jun, Zhou Tao, Li Yong, Dong Qing, Zhang Zequn and Liu Fangfei collectively started a chain of misread and mistimed lines. Zhang Zequn was the first to read his lines incorrectly, obviously reciting the wrong chunlian, although the audience still applauded. Li Yong then mentioned the transition from the year bingxu (year of the dog) to dinghai (year of the pig) and a greeting to "mother comrades across the country" before being cut off by Zhu Jun's loud declaration that the new year had almost arrived. Liu Fangfei, who was relatively new to the gala, then read a line that was obviously incomplete, followed by seconds of dead air. Zhou Tao tried following it up, only to be interrupted by Li Yong. Zhou then gave Li Yong an annoyed stare, obviously visible as the camera was focused on her. Zhu Jun then interrupted Li Yong again, only to be in turn interrupted by Zhou Tao before the ten-second countdown began. Host Zhang Zequn apologized for the incident on his CCTV blog.
Role of Women in Society (2015)
Some observers have criticized the Gala for resisting larger trends in Chinese society, such as the increased role of women in society and changing gender norms. The 2015 skit "Goddesses and Tomboys" (女神和女汉子), led by Jia Ling, faced particular derision online for its portrayal of strong female roles in society and its insensitive depiction of the "sheng nu" phenomenon.
Ugly Monkey (2016)
In 2016, the Gala was criticized for planning to include a "virtual mascot", modeled in 3D based on a painting of a monkey by Han Meilin that was described as "a monster" and "ugly" by many. The digital mascot was also mocked on various Chinese social networks.
The 2018 edition was criticized for a comedy skit focusing on China-Africa relations, and in particular, the country's investments in African railways. The skit featured Chinese actress Lou Naiming wearing blackface and a prosthetic buttocks to portray the mother of an African woman. The woman had asked the host to pose as her husband so she wouldn't be subjected to an arranged date. However, after the host exposed the ruse by introducing her wife, the woman's mother excuses it, declaring her love for China and its people. The skit was ridiculed by viewers and social media, especially among local groups and diaspora, for its invocation of African stereotypes.
Imagery of pigs
The 2007 and 2019 editions, despite celebrating the year of the pig in the Chinese zodiac, eschewed nearly all imagery and language invoking pigs - some suspect due to official sensitivities shown towards Muslim minority groups in China (and in the latter case possibly due to an outbreak of African swine fever).
Directors and performers
As the program is watched by more Chinese than any other, not just from China itself but also from overseas Chinese and viewers abroad via CCTV's international channels, a performance in the New Year's Gala could propel a relatively unknown name into household talk and national celebrity (and possible international hit status) overnight.
Directors and hosts
The presenters at the gala are sometimes hosts of their own television shows. Zhao Zhongxiang, for example, was an eminent narrator for television documentaries as well as newsreader for the widely watched Xinwen Lianbo program. Li Yong was the host of the variety show Lucky 52. Ni Ping was host of Zongyi Daguan (Chinese: 综艺大观), a variety show popular in the 1990s.
|Year||Director||Presenters||TV ratings*(%)||Multi-screen ratings(%)*||Viewers(Million)|
|1983||Huang Yihe||Deng Zaijun, Ma Ji, Jiang Kun, Wang Jingyu, Liu Xiaoqing||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|1984||Huang Yihe||Zhang Shufen, Zhao Zhongxiang, Lu Jing, Huang A'yuan, Jiang Kun, Jiang Lili, Chen Sisi||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|1985||Huang Yihe||Ma Ji, Jiang Kun, Zhang Yu, Zhu Yuanyi, Ban Ban||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|1986||Huang Yihe||Zhao Zhongxiang, Wang Gang, Jiang Kun, Liu Xiaoqing, Fang Shu, Gu Yongfei||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|1987||Deng Zaijun||Li Moran, Wang Gang, Li Xiaofen, Jiang Kun||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|1988||Deng Zaijun||Sun Daolin, Wang Gang, Jiang Kun, Hou Yaowen, Xue Fei, Wei Hua||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|1989||Zhang Xiaohai||Zhang Xiaohai, Li Moran, Zhao Zhongxiang, Jiang Kun, Kan Lijun, Li Yang||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|1990||Huang Yihe||Zhao Zhongxiang||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|1991||Lang Kun||Zhao Zhongxiang, Hu Miao, Ni Ping, Zhang Hongming, Li Ruiying||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|1992||Zhao An||Yang Lan, Zhao Zhongxiang, Ni Ping||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|1993||Zhang Ziyang||Liang Yanling, Li Qing'an, Zhang Yongquan, Yang Lan, Zhao Zhongxiang, Ni Ping||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|1994||Lang Kun||Ni Ping, Cheng Qian||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|1995||Zhao An||Zhao Zhongxiang, Ni Ping, Xu Gehui||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|1996||Zhang Xiaohai||Zhao Zhongxiang, Ni Ping
Shanghai - Cheng Qian, Yuan Ming
Xi'an, Shaanxi - Zhang Xiao, Zhou Tao
|1997||Yuan Dewang||Zhao Zhongxiang, Ni Ping, Cheng Qian, Zhou Tao, Zhu Jun, Ya Ning||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|1998||Meng Xin||Zhao Zhongxiang, Ni Ping, Zhou Tao, Zhu Jun, Ya Ning, Wang Xuechun||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|1999||Liu Tiemin, Huang Xiaohai, Chen Yulu||Zhao Zhongxiang, Ni Ping, Zhou Tao, Zhu Jun||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|2000||Zhao An, Zhang Xiaohai||Zhao Zhongxiang, Ni Ping, Zhou Tao, Zhu Jun, Zhao An, Zhao Wei, Zhang Xiaohai, Deric Wan, Brenda Wang, Pu Cunxin, Niu Qun, Feng Gong, Yang Lan, Jiang Kun, Bai Yansong, Wen Qing, Zhao Lin, Cao Ying, Li Xiaomeng, Cui Yongyuan, Wen Xingyu, Ju Ping||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|2001||Wang Xianping, Wang Xiansheng, Jin Yue||Zhu Jun, Zhou Tao, Zhang Zheng, Cao Ying||33.2||N/A||638|
|2002||Chen Yulu||Ni Ping, Zhu Jun, Zhou Tao, Li Yong, Wang Xiaoya, Wen Qing
Shenzhen, Guangdong - Cao Ying, Zhang Zheng
|2003||Jin Yue||Ni Ping, Zhu Jun, Zhou Tao, Li Yong||33.8||N/A||N/A|
|2004||Yuan Dewang||Ni Ping, Zhu Jun, Zhou Tao, Li Yong||36.4||N/A||N/A|
|2005||Lang Kun||Zhu Jun, Zhou Tao, Li Yong, Dong Qing||37.6||N/A||N/A|
|2006||Lang Kun||Zhu Jun, Zhou Tao, Li Yong, Dong Qing, Zhang Zequn, Liu Fangfei||31.7||N/A||N/A|
|2007||Jin Yue||Zhu Jun, Zhou Tao, Li Yong, Dong Qing, Zhang Zequn, Liu Fangfei||31.4||N/A||N/A|
|2008||Chen Linchun, Zhang Xiaohai||Zhu Jun, Zhou Tao, Li Yong, Dong Qing, Zhang Zequn, Liu Fangfei, Bai Yansong||32.4||N/A||N/A|
|2009||Lang Kun||Zhu Jun, Zhou Tao, Dong Qing, Zhang Zequn, Bai Yansong, Zhu Xun||34.8||N/A||N/A|
|2010||Jin Yue||Zhu Jun, Zhou Tao, Dong Qing, Zhang Zequn, Ren Luyu, Ouyang Xiadan||30.9||N/A||N/A|
|2011||Chen Linchun, Ma Dong, Liu Gang||Zhu Jun, Zhou Tao, Dong Qing, Li Yong, Zhang Zequn, Zhu Xun||31.0||N/A||N/A|
|2012||Ha Wen||Zhu Jun, Li Yong, Dong Qing, Bi Fujian, Sa Beining, Li Sisi||32.8||N/A||770|
|2013||Ha Wen||Zhu Jun, Li Yong, Dong Qing, Bi Fujian, Sa Beining, Li Sisi||31.2||N/A||750|
|2014||Feng Xiaogang||Zhu Jun, Dong Qing, Bi Fujian, Li Sisi, Zhang Guoli||30.9||33.15||705|
|2015||Ha Wen||Zhu Jun, Dong Qing, Kang Hui, Li Sisi, Sa Beining, Zhu Xun, Bi Fujian, Negmat Rahman||*28.37||29.60||690|
|2016||Lü Yitao||Zhu Jun, Dong Qing, Zhou Tao, Li Sisi, Sa Beining, Negmat Rahman
Xi'an, Shaanxi - Zhu Xun, Xu Jie (Shaanxi Broadcast Corporation, SXBC)
Guangzhou, Guangdong - Ren Luyu, Deng Lu (Guangdong Radio and Television, GRT)
Quanzhou, Fujian - Li Jiaming, Zhao Linshuo (Quanzhou TV)
Hulunbuir, Inner Mongolia - Ma Yue, Ourentuya (Inner Mongolia TV, NMTV)
|2017||Yang Dongsheng||Beijing - Zhu Jun, Dong Qing, Negmat Rahman, Kang Hui, Zhu Xun
Liangshan, Sichuan - Yang Fan, Ahore-Ri (Sichuan Radio & Television, SRT)
Shanghai - Meng Shengnan, Cao Kefan (Shanghai Meida Group, SMG)
Guilin, Guangxi - Zhang Lei, Gao Feng (Guangxi Television, GXTV)
Harbin, Heilongjiang - Guan Tong, Zhou Wei (Heilongjiang Television, HLJTV)
|2018||Yang Dongsheng||Beijing - Kang Hui, Zhu Xun, Ren Luyu, Li Sisi, Negmat Rahman
Sanya, Hainan - Zhang Zequn, Wang Si (Hainan Television)
Qiandongnan, Guizhou - Ma Yue, Dou Aili (Guizhou Television, GTV)
Tai'an and Qufu, Shandong - Li Jiaming, Li Yi (Shandong Television, SDTV)
Zhuhai, Guangdong - Yang Fan, Gui Jiachen (Zhuhai Television, ZHTV)
|2019||Liu Zhen||Beijing - Kang Hui, Zhu Xun, Ren Luyu, Li Sisi, Negmat Rahman
Jinggangshan, Jiangxi - Zhang Yu, Yin Song (Jiangxi Television, JTV)
Changchun, Jilin - Zhang Zequn, Yang Fan (Jilin Television)
Shenzhen, Guangdong - Yang Fan, Pangwei (Shenzhen Media Group, SZMG)
|2020||Yang Dongsheng||Beijing - Ren Luyu, Negmat Rahman, Tong Liya, Yin Song, Zhang Shuyue
Zhengzhou - Zhang Zequn, Ma Yue, Pang Xiaoge, Mi Na
Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area - Myolie Wu, Daniel Liu, Xu Lunan
There have been over twenty hosts in total, beginning in the first show in 1983. The first production of the show was hosted by Jiang Kun, Liu Xiaoqing, Ma Ji and Wang Jingyu. The 1983 production was notably ad-libbed, with improvised dialogue between the hosts. Over the years, the delivery of the hosts became much more scripted and stilted over time. In later years Zhao Zhongxiang and Wang Gang gained prominence. Ni Ping appeared in over ten galas beginning in 1991, making her the most veteran female host.
Shanghainese stand-up comedian Zhou Libo has repeatedly turned down offers from CCTV to host the show.
Notes for rating and viewers data
- TV ratings before 2001 are not available.
- 2001-2014 Data source: CSM Media Research.
- TV rating of 2015 may not be accurate and needs additional citations for verification.(No reliable data found)
- Reliable data of 2016 TV rating has not been released officially.
- Multi-screen live rating includes TV live ratings, online video live ratings and VOSDAL ratings.
- Ratings and viewers data in 2014,2015,2016 is released by CCTV itself.
The following is a list of people who have gained their fame largely from their performances at the Gala, or whose names have become frequently associated with the Gala. This list is not to be confused with the "guest stars" list below, which identifies celebrities who were famous in their own right prior to their appearance at the Gala.
- Zhao Benshan; Gao Xiumin; Fan Wei; – skits, 1990s – 2010s; Xiaoshenyang – 2009
- Song Dandan; Chen Peisi; Zhu Shimao – skits, 1990s
- Guo Da, Cai Ming, Pan Changjiang, Huang Hong, Guo Donglin, Gong Hanlin – skits, 1990s – 2010s
- Jia Ling – skits, 2010s – 2020s
- Feng Gong and Niu Qun – xiangsheng, 1990s – 2000s (decade)
- Ma Ji, Jiang Kun – xiangsheng
- Dashan (stage name of Canadian Mark Rowswell), gained his fame through the Gala, 1990s – 2010s
- Song Zuying, Peng Liyuan, Dong Wenhua, Mao Amin, Zhang Ye, Han Lei, Jiang Dawei, Yan Weiwen, Yin Xiumei; folk and opera singers, 1990s – 2010s
- Li Guyi, usually the performer of the last segment of the evening, "Nanwang Jinxiao" ("Can't forget tonight")
These performers have made appearances at the Gala. They are listed by alphabetical order (by their last name, or if they perform under an artistic name, by that name) based on the common name they are known by internationally.
- A-do (duet with Zhao Wei in 2004)
- Abao (2006, 2014)
- Alilang Group, singing Doraji (2009)
- Angelababy (2019)
- Attraction (2014)
- Danny Chan (2009)
- Eason Chan (2009, 2012)
- Jackie Chan (1989; 1993; 2005; 2009; 2013; 2014; 2017–20)
- William Chan (2017–20)
- Angela Chang (2007; 2008; 2020)
- Jeff Chang (2017)
- Chang Chen (2015)
- Kelly Chen (2019)
- Chen Kun (2012; 2020)
- Charlene Choi (2017)
- Cosmic Girls (2017)
- Cui Yongyuan (1998; 2006; 2013)
- Jay Chou (2008; 2009; 2011; 2018)
- Celine Dion (2013)
- Dilraba Dilmurat (2019)
- Dimash Kudaibergen (2018)
- Fei Xiang (1987, 2012)
- Fei Yu-Ching (2008, 2019)
- Fire of Anatolia (2013)
- Fu Yuanhui (2017)
- G.E.M. (2015; 2017)
- Guan Xiaotong (2017; 2019)
- Guo Degang (2013)
- Hao Ge (2007, 2008)
- Han Geng (2011)
- Han Hong (2007; 2011; 2017)
- Hou Dejian (1988)
- Hou Yong (2016)
- Huang Shengyi (2008)
- Valen Hsu (2016)
- Hua Chenyu (2014)
- Huang Bo (2014; 2018)
- Huang Xiaoming (2018–20)
- Hu Ge (2016; 2017)
- Richie Jen (1999)
- Jackson Wang (2020)
- Jiang Xin (2017)
- Jing Boran (2017)
- Ju Jingyi (2020)
- Khalil Fong (2011)
- Leon Lai (2000)
- Lang Lang (2013; 2015; 2020)
- Liang Qiqi (2008)
- Andy Lau (1995; 1998; 2006; 2015)
- Carina Lau (2020)
- Coco Lee (2001; 2014; 2017)
- Hacken Lee (2017)
- Jam Hsiao (2011)
- Lee Min-ho (2014)
- Gigi Leung (2016)
- Li Jian (2011)
- Li Ronghao (2020)
- Li Xian (2020)
- Li Yifeng (2019)
- Li Yuchun (2015; 2020)
- Li Yundi (2001; 2012; 2013)
- Lin Chi-ling (2011, 2019)
- Ruby Lin (1998, 2016)
- Terry Lin (2019)
- JJ Lin (2006; 2017)
- Liu Hegang (2008)
- Liu Huan (2020)
- Liu Tao (2015, 2016, 2017; 2019; 2020)
- Liu Xiao Ling Tong (1992)
- Show Lo (2020)
- Lu Chen (2009; 2010; 2012; 2013; 2019)
- Lu Jihong (2011)
- Lu Han (2017)
- Ma Sichun (2020)
- Ma Tianyu (2017)
- Maksim Mrvica (2018)
- Sophie Marceau (2014)
- Karen Mok (2015)
- Warren Mok (2015; 2020)
- Wu Muye (2018)
- Na Ying (1992, 1993; 1995–1998; 2000, 2001; 2005; 2013; 2015; 2018)
- Pang Long (2006; 2007; 2008)
- Eddie Peng (2020)
- Phoenix Legend (2008; 2013; 2015–2017; 2019; 2020)
- Qiao Xin (2017)
- Ren Yueli (2011)
- Ronan Parke (2013)
- S.H.E (2008; 2013)
- Song Zu'er (2020)
- Sun Nan (2012–2014; 2019; 2020)
- David Tao (2007; 2015)
- TFBoys (2016–2020)
- Jolin Tsai (2005; 2007)
- Nicholas Tse (2000)
- Twins (2006)
- Jackson Wang (2020)
- Wang Kai (2017; 2018)
- Wang Leehom (2003; 2010; 2012; 2013)
- Wang Ziwen (2017)
- Wanting (2013)
- Faye Wong (1998; 2010; 2011; 2012; 2018)
- Wu Jing (2018)
- Xiao Hu Dui (1992; 2013)
- Xiao Zhan (2020)
- Yan Tiexin (2011)
- Aska Yang (2019)
- Yang Yang (duet with Tong Tiexin sing “Father and Son” (父子) in 2016, 2018)
- Yang Zi (2017; 2020)
- Yao Beina (2007; 2010; 2014)
- Sally Yeh (1996)
- Donnie Yen (2016)
- Frances Yip (1987)
- Yisa Yu (2019)
- Yue Yunpeng (2014; 2015; 2017; 2019; 2020)
- Joey Yung (2005; 2007; 2009; 2010; 2011; 2019)
- Jason Zhang (2017; 2019)
- Lay Zhang (2017–20)
- Zhang Ziyi (2000; 2001; 2008)
- Zhao Wei (2000; 2004; 2016)
- Zhou Dongyu (2020)
- Zhu Yilong (2020)
- Members of the Chinese Space Program (2007–2009, 2017)
- 2008 also featured a poem dedicated to the victims of the 2008 Chinese winter storms with it being performed by eminent performers, including Li Ruiying, Kang Hui, Pu Cunxin, Wang Gang, Chen Daoming, Jiang Wen, Han Lei, Wei Wei and Zhang Guoli. 2020 included a tribute to the Wuhan coronavirus victims and medical staff, read out by Bai Yansong, Kang Hui, Shui Junyi, He Hongmei, Hai Xia, and Ouyang Xiadan
- Then-United Nation Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appeared in a New Year's greeting in 2016.
- CCSTV New Year's Gala
- Spring Festival Web Gala
- Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve
- Gặp nhau cuối năm
- Indonesia - RCTI, MNCTV, GTV and iNews (live television on MNC Media and simulcast on China Central Television)
- Malaysia - TV3, NTV7, 8TV and TV9 (live television on Media Prima and simulcast on China Central Television)
- Singapore - Channel 5, Channel 8, Channel U, Channel NewsAsia, Okto, Vasantham and Suria (live television on Mediacorp and simulcast on China Central Television)
- "7 ways to celebrate Chinese New Year". CNN. February 8, 2013.
It’s also probably the biggest show on the planet, attracting 700 million viewers, six times the Super Bowl’s audience.
- Louisa Lim (2012-11-28). "Will China's First Lady Outshine Her Husband?". npr.org. NPR. Retrieved 2012-11-28.
- "The world's most-watched television show airs tonight". Time.
- "Celine Dion to Perform on China Central Television's New Year's Gala Show". The Hollywood Reporter. 6 February 2013.
...and is widely considered the most watched television program in the world today.
- "'Chun Wan': CCTV Spring Festival Gala attracts more than a billion viewers".
- Lo, Rebecca (2019-02-01). "Why 'Chunwan', China's Lunar New Year gala, is the world's most-watched TV show". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 2019-04-15.
- Yang, Meng (2019-04-09). "First Director of the Spring Festival Gala Huang Yihe passed away". China Global Television Network. Retrieved 2019-04-15.
- 央视春晚“开创者”黄一鹤去世 曾力保张明敏不惜摔电话. Sohu (in Chinese). 2019-04-09. Retrieved 2019-04-15.
- "央视春晚开创者、首届春晚总导演黄一鹤去世，享年85岁". Thepaper.cn. 2019-04-08. Retrieved 2019-04-15.
- "Understanding the Politics of Chunwan". Ta Kung Po. January 31, 2014.
- "盘点中央领导与央视春晚故事：江泽民曾亲临现场". Tencent News. January 30, 2014.
- "中宣部、广电总局领导审看春晚 要求格调健康". Chinanews. January 31, 2008.
- "Xi Jinping the Star in China's Lunar New Year TV Gala". Wall Street Journal (blog). February 19, 2015.
- ""把心交给你" 春晚独捧习近平". Voice of America. February 19, 2015.
- Shen Lu and Hilary Whiteman (8 February 2016). "Lunar New Year TV gala: The worst ever? - CNN.com". CNN.
- e.g. The titles of Jay Chou's appearance would be introduced on screen as Jay Chou (Taiwan, China) (Chinese: 周杰伦（中国台湾）), or in the case of Andy Lau, as Andy Lau (Hong Kong, China) (Chinese: 刘德华（中国香港）)
- "新世纪春晚亮点：打开大门 推出新星 符号化语言". ifeng.com. February 1, 2011.
- "陈佩斯靠种石榴东山再起 曾赢版权官司却遭封杀". 华商晨报. 2010-03-31. Retrieved 2013-01-03.
- Chunwan screw-ups: Viewpoints and analysis: 春晚名嘴集体掌了自己嘴 孔庆东博客炮轰春晚. Enjoy Eastday.com. February 24, 2007
- The coming of age of Chinese feminism. Al Jazeera America. May 17, 2015
- Coonan, Clifford (8 February 2016). "Year of the Monkey keeps Chinese upbeat despite troubles". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2019-02-09.
- "猴年春晚吉祥物"康康"：比我丑的不是没有！". 2016-02-07. Retrieved 2019-02-09.
- Taylor, Adam (2018-02-16). "China's televised New Year's Gala featured a blackface skit about Africans". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2019-02-09.
- Allen, Kerry (2019-02-06). "中国央视2019猪年春晚传递出的五大信息". BBC中文网. Retrieved 2019-02-08.
- Data reference:CSM media research 2001-2014 央视春晚收视数据全披露
- CSM media research
- "Peng Liyuan Glamour - - The Elegant Style of China's First Lady". Theodora's Fashion. Retrieved 2014-10-11.
- "2013中央电视台春节联欢晚会节目单". cctv.com. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
- "CCTV New Year Gala 2016". whatsonweibo.com. Retrieved 3 December 2016.