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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.


  • April

    It has nothing to do with the Director. it’s the decision of some senior party official. don’t blaim the wrong person

  • subjectivelistener

    Hi Losers

    I am so surprised that there are so many people are picking on those small things by ignoring the big picture.

    It is a SHOW. Do you know what does it mean by SHOW?

    It is like a secondary school graduate trying to find fault of Albert Einstein’s scripts.

    Give me a break. You are even qualified to criticise. Dont mix the SHOW with the GAMES.

    Do you know you sound really like a LOSER?

  • To: subjectivelistener

    Thanks for your post. I am amazed over this controversy. It IS a show. China was trying to ENTERTAIN the international community. They should not be embarassed on these issues.

  • leo

    All the performances were so highly electrified;you would rather be more smart to feel fooled~

  • Dena Liles

    I beg to differ with you on this. This was a “ceremony.”
    Words are very important things! Below is the definition of ceremony from the Merriam Webster dictionary:
    Middle English ceremonie, from Middle French ceremonie, from Latin caerimonia
    Date:14th century

    1: a formal act or series of acts prescribed by ritual, protocol, or convention

    I will agree that what I saw was indeed a “show.”

    Middle English shewen, showen, from Old English scēawian to look, look at, see; akin to Old High German scouwōn to look, look at, and probably to Latin cavēre to be on one’s guard
    Date: 12th century

    1: the act of entertaining

    3 a: amusement or diversion provided especially by performers b: something diverting or engaging: as (1):

    So I’m sure you can see where the difference in expectations is being derived. The International Olympic
    Committee refers to them as ceremonies. That is why countries go to the expense and the world anticipates the opening ceremony in an Olympic event.

    This is why we are here discussing this matter. China only gave the world a “show” not a ceremony. When the truth came out, it spread like a wildfire in the entire world. Shows gone awry don’t cause such widespread disgrace to a country.

    If in fact the world was only expecting a show, why are their so many people debating it here and millions of other places all over the world?

    I really think it is far too late to debate it any further. China’s face fell off. No super glue will paste it back on. If the International Olympic Committee ever gives a city in China another chance, I hope China has learned from this disgrace.

  • Dalai-Lama

    So you think Titanic, Jurassic Park, effects are real????

    You also believe everything your country puts on show is real?

    LOL How delusional!

  • Maconald

    “Art for art’s sake is an empty phrase. Art for the sake of the true, art for the sake of the good and the beautiful, that is the faith I am searching for.”

  • Sky Traveler


    I always thought Americans are the worlds greatest sports. I thought they can take winnings and losses, but GOD, that Marta and Bela drive me up the wall complaining about everything. If the American gymnasts did not fall and tumble on easy exercises, they could claim the title. The coach should blame herself and the team instead of being a BAD sport, what a embarrassment!!!!!!! BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Losers without dignity!

  • Sky Traveler

    When you lose, you lose with Dignity, like crying and let it out, instead of blaming others. I can understand if it’s a tiny country whining, but come on, the great USA, I thought you can take anything that comes yourself. Marta and Bela, have a little more confidence will NOT kill you!

  • Sky Traveler

    Kennedy is a SOB, he can not get his hands off these little lady-like gossips.

    [lol] let me ask you losers like Marta and Bela a simple question, with these advance technologies, do you actually believe that everything you see on TV is 100% REAL?????? It’s for entertainment for God’s sake. If you have confidence, please admit that you are a RACIST, and you are JEALOUS, and you hate chinks, that Pau did with his team with the photo. Please do NOT try to hide behind something and point at little silly things like a educationless child!

    Wow, I can not believe there many ignorant children in the world.

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