China: Faking the Olympic opening ceremony, at what expense?

Global Voices OlympicsFaked, harmonized, prettified, just when everyone seems so into the Games, out comes the news that two of the highlights of the opening ceremony were not what they appeared: production of a made-for-tv version of the footstep fireworks that walked across the sky from Tiananmen Square to the Bird's Nest began a year ago, and nine year-old Lin Miaoke, de facto face of the event for many, was actually lip synching to the voice of seven year-old Yang Peiyi, harmonized out of the picture because she doesn't look perfect enough. There was some humor to be found in this; people asked, ‘they blew so much money on this thing and we couldn't even get a real one?’

For the faked footstep fireworks, the argument that there wasn't much difference between what was seen from the ground and what was seen on television has made it less of a controversy, that and probably the fact that most bloggers are used to digital touch-ups of official events.

Looking at the early buzz on Twitter, though, we feel a sense of shame at seeing authorities muck it up not once but twice, and then wondering what the next fake revelation will be.

Twenty-something Sohu web editor and iPod fan Flypig wrote a series of tweets just as word was spreading through blogger circles:

Motherfucker, this “Ode to the Motherland” thing has already gone way beyond just lip-synching; putting in a stand-in singer is no fracking different from having a stand-in test-taker, and this is a huge misguidance to the youth of China. Zhang Yimou, you get your butt out here and apologize!

Through his actions, Zhang Yimou has effectively told all the impressionable minors and children of China that for “harmony”, for “odes to the motherland”, children can be made to deceive!

Zhang Yimou, too, is putting out word that if someone isn't good-looking, no matter how good a singer they are, they can't be allowed on stage. Yeah, fuck you. As director, do you not have any idea how influential the opening ceremony is? Do you not know that you're twisting the minds of an entire generation of people?

News of the lip-synching where reported was (at least in many places) quickly deleted, but discussion continued elsewhere; also on Twitter, Chinese wikipedian @shizhao tweeted in response to @buchimifan (‘Chen Qigang reveals, the main reason Yang Peiyi was taken out was in consideration of the image presented to the rest of the world, and national interest’) and @kcome (‘fuck the image presented to the rest of the world, and fuck national interest! Denigrate kids like this and our heaven-sent hypocrisy will just flow from one generation to the next!’):

@kcome @number5 @buchimifan 这样说的话,当年美国奥运会拳王阿里颤颤巍巍那火炬的形象,岂不更是丢尽了美国人的脸?

Well if that's the case, when boxing king Muhammad Ali came shaking to light the torch at the Atlanta Olympics, wouldn't that have been the ultimate loss of face for the Americans?

Blogger/businessman Isaac Mao has collected a few other posts, one of which from Sina blogger ‘nice book on a summer night’ asks:

两个孩子都很优秀,但我想此后她们都会为此事受到伤害~ 唉,这事儿办得,,,哪怕是一个不很完美的童声,或是一个不很惊艳的形象,我们都能接受…





Both of these kids are outstanding, but I think both of them will be hurt as a result of this~ Aye, this whole thing was done too…even if one of them didn't have a perfect child's voice, or if one wasn't shockingly pretty, we'd have been able to accept it…

But now, never mind that we can't accept this, do you think that the kids can stand it?

Adults made the decision, but they have to deal with the consequences, which are unfair to these two little girls~

For anyone thinking of defending this incident, please just think: what if Yang Peiyi was your own child? What if Lin Miaoke was your own child?

Sometimes, things like the bottom line and principles are more important than national interest; at least they would be if those were my kids.

At the end of his post, Isaac asks:


So, is there anything that is still real? Gold medals?

Perpetually blocked Blogspot blogger Nick Wong also writes:


The news came out today that that little girl who sang (“Ode to the motherland”) and moved so many people to tears it turns out was playing “shuanghuang” and lip-synching, and the other story being that the “footprint” fireworks that everyone can't stop talking about were pre-recorded, and not broadcast live, it's really a scandal. I didn't think that either of these were worth getting excited over (actually, I thought they were disgusting), so of course I wasn't put out at all when I heard the news. Chinese love face by nature, they've been ambitious for big successes since ancient times, tending towards deception, this is nothing new, it's just that even naive little girls have to put up with this kind of abusive upbringing from when they're small, it really just makes you sigh.


  • Josn

    There’s something disturbing about getting news on the “pulse” of a nation via posts on message boards and internet forums.

    I guess this is the dumbing down of culture extends to “journalism” as well.

  • @Josn,
    I’m sorry, maybe you didn’t notice that posts from three blogs were translated here? And as for the Twitter bits that were translated, those all come from well-known, high-profile Chinese internet personalities.

  • Dena Liles

    In my humble opinion, China had already lost face. Unfortunately so did a little girl named Yang Peiyi, who was the singer at the Opening Ceremony. It breaks my heart to think of that. The world will not forget this and neither will she. It only fans the flames of young girls here in the United States who struggle with their outer beauty every day. Some even die from starving themselves to be thin. How do I know? Because I used to weigh 83 pounds with a height of 5’3″, and one day my doctor told me I was going to die due to the stress on my heart. My friends told me I looked great.

  • Spelunker

    Spelunker’s “Ode to the Stepmotherland”




  • 中国有句老话,打击别人不能太高自己,反而会暴露自己的无知,有些人总说别人是狗,其实自己连狗都不如

  • simon

    the 2 girls are innocent

    National interest couldn’t be excuse

  • YJinstreet

    is that real
    i m disapponited about the faked footprints fireworks
    but not surpeised bout that faked singing star

  • […] of some Chinese-language critiques of the children’s lip-synching incident. (Warning: Some of the critics result to salty language.) […]

  • Kai

    I thought both were fairly obviously faked. Personally, the fireworks wasn’t a big deal whatsoever to me and while I’m not surprised by the lip-syncing, It does suck that they were actually two different girls. I thought a pre-recording paired to live lip-syncing would be understandable to ensure no slip ups during a live performance though. Either way, the first is largely a non-issue to me but the latter is only slightly disquieting.

    I wonder how some of our resident wu mao dang feel.

  • chinese

    假的,你听的懂中文?告诉你,中国永远在我们中国人的心里,她永远在我们心里,这种诋毁不觉得幼稚吗?!Go china! Olympic refueling!

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