NPR logo

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/93702870/93702588" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Beijing Deception

Beijing Deception

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/93702870/93702588" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Cutiepie Yang Peiyi sang a song for China. Source: AFP/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Source: AFP/AFP/Getty Images

Mixed in with all the stories of Michael Phelps' gold-medal record chase and Jamaica's total dominance on the fast track, there have been a couple articles about the little bits of deceit — stagecraft? — in the Olympics' opening ceremonies in Beijing. Of course, there were those fake fireworks — digitally enhanced for the television audience, because they were too difficult to film. The bigger Talk story, though, seems to be the little girl who sang a patriotic hymn in the opening ceremony, but who didn't get to perform it because she was deemed unattractive by event organizers. A "prettier" girl took her place, Milli-Vanilli-ing her way through the recording by girl #1.

The public has met this revelation with varying degrees of outrage and understanding — just a tough game-time decision or simple cruelty? Masha Ma experienced something similar — though on a much smaller stage — as a child in China, and she didn't like the call. What do you think?

NPR thanks our sponsors