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China To Kid Singer: You Just Aren't Cute Enough

Lin Miaoke and Yang Peiyi

Lin Miaoke lip-synched at the opening ceremony over the voice of Yang Peiyi, (right), because of Peiyi's buck teeth. GETTY/AFP hide caption

toggle caption GETTY/AFP

A reader named Hiki had this to say about my previous post related to the Olympics opening ceremony:

"NPR, are you kidding me? You want to compare this amazing Olympic opening ceremony with the silly event by a so-call activist/actress that no one knows????"

I'll concede the point. The ceremony might well have been amazing. But now, it appears there was definitely some C+C Music Factory/Zelma Davis lip synch action happening that night.

Here's more from the UK's Telegraph:

The girl in the red dress with the pigtails, called Lin Miaoke, 9, and from a Beijing primary school, has become a national sensation since Friday night, giving interviews to all the most popular newspapers.

But the show's musical designer felt forced to set the record straight. He gave an interview to Beijing radio saying the real singer was a seven-year-old girl who had won a gruelling competition to perform the anthem, a patriotic song called "Hymn to the Motherland".

... [Chen Qigang's] interview gave an extraordinary insight into the control exercised over the ceremony by the Games' political overseers, all to ensure the country was seen at its best.

Officials have already admitted that the pictures of giant firework footprints which marched across Beijing towards the stadium on Friday night were prerecorded, digitally enhanced and inserted into footage beamed across the world.

... "The main consideration was the national interest," he said. "The child on the screen should be flawless in image, in her internal feelings, and in her expression. In the matter of her voice, Yang Peiyi was flawless, in the unanimous opinion of all the members of the team."

That was until attention turned to Yang Peiyi's teeth. Nevertheless, Mr Chen thought the end result a perfect compromise.

"We have a responsibility to face the audience of the whole country, and to be open with this explanation," he said. "We should all understand it like this: it is a question of the national interest. It is a question of the image of our national music, our national culture ... So we made the choice. I think it is fair to both Lin Miaoke and Yang Peiyi — after all, we have a perfect voice, a perfect image and a perfect show, in our team's view, all together."

Cultural relativism aside ... Lin Miaoke (the cuter, more TV-friendly lip syncher) was even "allowed to give interviews in which she lapped up the praise for her singing."

What do you think about this made-for-TV controversy?



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

What truly boggles the mind here is that the Chinese do not seem to understand that they harm, rather than help, their national image, when they pull such ridiculous tricks. And we thought Hollywood was superficial...

Sent by Robert Desmond | 5:57 PM | 8-12-2008

Let's urge the officials to allow Yang Peyi to sing at the closing ceremonies! It's only fair.

Sent by june Brasgala | 7:12 PM | 8-12-2008

It looks, from the pictures that I have seen, that the singer has all her teeth. The one who lip-synched seems to be missing some of her teeth. I believe the younger girl is cuter, more realistic - the older girl seems a bit too plastic looking, even with her missing teeth.

Sent by Kathy Pearlman | 8:39 PM | 8-12-2008

Even though this news is upsetting, it is certainly not surprising. After living in China for 3 years, I've found that "saving face" is everything. What is this country teaching it's next generation by pulling a ruse like this?

Sent by Glennis | 11:00 PM | 8-12-2008

Big deal! Who said show business was fair? Consider your position again the next time you watch America's latest talent shows and find yourself cheering for the beautiful yet tone-deaf kid.

Sent by Tim Gabbert | 11:15 AM | 8-13-2008

They're concerned about the little details so much that we can't trust the singer & fireworks? Then when it truly competition we can't trust the far as I'm concerned nothing everything they post is in question....are they juicing...cheating?

Sent by Jon J | 8:24 PM | 8-13-2008

Even the medals are FAKE.

The medals made by Chinese manufacturer the Wuhan One Hundred Percent Gold Medal Corporation,,,yes 100%.. are composed of 99% lead alloy and coated with a gold-colored lead-based paint. After the Olympics are over you'll probably be able to find the overruns on the shelf at your local Wal Mart.

Cheap toxic Chinese goods...typical.

Outside of the Wu Tang Clan nothing Chinese can be trusted.

Sent by Jon J | 2:25 AM | 8-14-2008

One girl is good at singing. The other girl is good at performing and facing spot lights. There is no wrong that each girl chose the best she can do at a $300 million stage. However, it's better to present both of them to public. Otherwise, people will feel the little singer was forced to hide behind only because of her teeth is not perfect. I doubt whether it is her call to play a less stressful role in this so important occasion....if the male adult singer who showed later can present as a ok image (Sorry that I have to say he is not looking friendly)

Why people so get use to attach culture, politics with everything happens in China. Why just think it is as same as an actor using a fall guy. if you can accept fall guy, if you can accept when a president give a speech, he simply read the beautiful, inspiring notes wrote by his officers, why can't accept two girls work together to present a song?

Sent by Fran | 6:55 PM | 8-17-2008

Fran you ask: Why people attach culture/politics to everything that happens in china?

Did you read the Chinese music designer's quote? It is a question of the image of our national music, our national culture.

AND China is the one who attaches everything to politics, everything is STATE owned & run, especially the abuse of human rights.

The Olympics aren't hollywood or scripted...that's the beauty. Competition and the Olympic spirit unscripted drama happening in real time. BOTH these young girls were exploited and neither was old enough to have a say.

Sent by Jon J | 2:43 PM | 8-19-2008


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