A Matter of National Interest
What a sad world we live in when a little girl with a beautiful voice is deemed not pretty enough for television.
Olympic ceremony singer faked performance
By Mure Dickie in Beijing
Financial Times, Published: August 12 2008 16:27
Lin Miaoke was quickly hailed as a budding star by China’s state media after the pig-tailed nine-year-old performed a rousing rendition of a revolutionary anthem during last Friday’s Beijing Olympics opening ceremony.
But while the smile beaming around the world may have been hers, China’s top leaders made a late intervention to make sure the voice was not.
The replacement singer, however, was deemed not attractive enough to grace the world’s television screens.
“I think all China’s viewers and listeners should understand that was a matter of national interest,” Mr Chen said in an interview with Radio Beijing.
The involvement of senior leaders in the decision to substitute seven-year-old Yang Peiyi’s voice for Miss Lin’s reflected the political importance placed on the lavish opening ceremony.
News of the move prompted an immediate backlash from some Chinese who felt deceived and angry at the way in which Miss Yang had been treated.
“It’s laughable and disgusting,” said one post on Radio Beijing’s website. “Yang Peiyi is cute enough too . . . I doubt these people’s values. Hypocritical. Superficial,” wrote a user of the popular Sina.com site.
The rendition of the “Ode to the Motherland” was not the only thing Chinese officials have admitted faking. Games organisers also confirmed the seemingly live images of the spectacular firework “footprints” marching across Beijing broadcast during the ceremony were actually prerecorded footage prepared using computer special effects.
A local newspaper quoted a spokesman of the company that worked on the footage as saying it had “done its best” to make them look like live images.
Friday’s ceremony has been judged a huge success. But Mr Chen’s comments on the decision to use Ms Yang’s voice made clear that every aspect of the show was subject to review by the party’s politburo.
The song “Ode to the Motherland” had already been modified to be less martial and ideological. Lines referring to China’s “heroic people” standing up and “destroying” invaders were changed to pledges of love for peace, home and friendship.
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2008