Aug 13

The cruelest insults come from ones pretending to speak as the righteous

Written by DJ on Wednesday, August 13th, 2008 at 12:21 am
Filed under:media, News | Tags:, , , , ,
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At the risk of being seen as running an excessive self and cross promotional campaign, I highly recommend all interested readers to check out ESWN’s take on some of the irresponsible media reports in this case, particularly the collection of quotes from various medias, and the latest comment on the “uneven teeth” meme such reports created. Roland is very gracious in claiming only to frame this very post, but I think his “re-framing” does a very effective job in making the point.

I should also point out some subtle but extremely damaging distortions introduced and propagated by the media reports that earned my ire. As reflected by a Chinese blogger on his second posting on this matter after listening to the entire interview of Chen (H/T to ESWN again):


The words of Chen Qigang are used by the media out of context and are distorted. First, Chen did not say that Yang Peiyi was considered not good in appearance. He merely pointed out that Lin Miaoke was considered to have the best image. Second, when Chen talked about national interest, he was claiming that the national interest was served by combining the best stage presence with the best singing voice [to present the best perceived performance]. He did not mean that it was a matter of “national interest” to hide Yang Peiyi from the camera.

Maybe I am biased because my daughter and Yang Peiyi look alike. My perception was confirmed last night when my wife, glancing at the image of Peiyi on my screen for the first time, blurted out: “she looks like our 宝宝 precious.” Anyway, I have always thought Yang Peiyi as a very adorable girl for any parents to be proud of. The following facts should show that the directors never considered her unattractive and were always realistically prepared to have her on the stage in the ceremony.

It is perhaps charitable to dismiss some of those “journalists” as merely incompetent. A reporter is supposed to actually check the source material before writing, right? Well I did. I viewed the video of the interview carefully and confirmed the transcript before writing anything. And I am not a reporter; blogging is not my day job.

As for a less charitable description of those “journalists”, I want to repeat the words in my comment #85, that they demonstrated a lack of humanity while being completely indifferent to the fate of these two young girls.

The start of the original post follows below:

When I wrote the earlier post “an imperfect perfection,” my disappointment was focused on the bureaucrats and more importantly, the mentality behind the decision to pursue superficial perfection while being blind to what it would mean for the two sweet and talented girls. I worried how these two young ladies would weather the inevitable ordeals coming towards them now that the news came out. The following is my comment in the discussion thread:

My first reaction was how cruel it was to both girls. I am not so sure if Yang Peiyi realizes that she was deemed not adorable enough and that her chance to shine was denied. But she surely will some day, won’t she? And for Lin Miaoke, what would be her reaction to learn that it wasn’t her voice? Would she be labeled as someone undeserving the honor? My heart aches for both.

Isn’t it ironic that these worries are ever more likely to become true already, aided by the ones pretending to care? Isn’t it also not particularly surprising?

This is what Voice of America has to say, in its Chinese language report:


Chen Qigang said the 9-year old girl Lin Miaoke was a stand-in on stage because the 7-year old real singer Yang Peiyi had a very fat face and crooked teeth, so her appearance was considered not good enough.

Excuse me! When and where did Chen Qigang say these hurtful words? For anyone having any doubt about this, please check out the video of Chen Qigang’s interview. The China News Digest provided a quite faithful transcript, which was translated in my previous post. Chen simply never described Yang in the way reported by VoA.

So, were those words planted by you, Voice of America, in the language directly able to torture the mind of this young girl and her family? And don’t you give me the “isn’t that essentially what he said” BS. There is a difference between “you are very cute but someone else is a bit more photogenic” and “you are ugly and we can not show your face”. Are you aspiring to be known as the journalist match of UK’s Metro, which had the gall to print a story titled “Ceremony sham – Little girl ‘too ugly’ to take part in Olympic showpiece“?

Lest anyone would think VOA wasn’t callous in its made-up description, the following is another photo I found of Yang Peiyi online.

As for other girl Lin Miaoke, just check out what the titles say in some of the news reports:

Did any reporter bother to check out what Chen Qigang actually said? Lin Miaoke had no idea that the sound was being substituted and went onto the stage to perform in front an audience of billions flawlessly. Her composure under the pressure was something most grown-up could only dream of. She is the real deal!

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183 Responses to “The cruelest insults come from ones pretending to speak as the righteous”

  1. Nimrod Says:

    That’s why I call BS on FOARP’s assertion in your other post that … what’s the harm … the UK papers won’t possibly say anything cruel about a “girl with crooked teeth”. Ironic, isn’t it, that such words were in the chosen title of a newspaper article.

    There are vultures out there. Obviously they just care about putting down China — and I’m not the sensitive type here — but read them, none of the media articles I’ve read outside China actually care about the children, but are simply getting a good laugh out of China and the apparently self-bickering Chinese. Mission accomplished, I guess.

  2. Charles Liu Says:

    There’s also reports (Google both girl’s name), that Lin was choosen over the other girls because she has 3-4 years of camera experience; Lin has been doing commercials since age 6.

  3. Charles Liu Says:

    DJ, you may disagree but in varying degrees, from CND to Times UK to VOA (a US government propaganda outlet), these reports all have the subtext of vilifying China.

    Who pays for VOA is not a secret, nor is it’s agenda I hope:


    “the overseas broadcasting enterprise is the product of two separate philosophical forces that have shaped U.S. foreign policy over the past half-century. One is the militant anti-communism of the Cold War era; the other is “American exceptionalism” – the belief that the U.S. experiment in democratic governance stands as an example for the rest of the world to emulate.”

  4. bianxiangbianqiao Says:

    I am sure both girls will be happy and successful in the future lives. The Olympic appearance has been a great starter for their careers. It will open many doors for them, while serving their country. I do not see any trauma in their experiences.

    It is unproductive to argue with Voice of America. Nobody believes it anyway. They have a lot to learn from People’s Daily to be proper propagandists.

  5. MutantJedi Says:

    Indeed Nimrod, that’s what was behind my comment about how cruel the media hacks would be if the singer had sung the song.

    Embarrassingly, the CBC Radio called it a cheat and compared the story with doping stories.

    At least the NBC report I caught was pretty neutral in language and let it drop.

    Enough said, eh.

  6. Kong Says:


    She, a nine year old doll made grown men & women cry, filled the hearts of billions with pride and admiration with her superb performance…with the help of Yang Pei Yi’s incredible voice, whom, I am sure will enjoy her own version of fame and find her own unique artistic path to happiness and fulfilment.

    、五星红旗升起。她就是林妙可。在9日回到学校后,林妙可一夜之间,成了真正 … 8月8日晚8时6分,北京奥运会开幕式升旗仪式前,一名身着红色纱裙的女孩出现在电视画面中,她紧攥拳头,领唱《歌唱祖国》,随 后,代表56个民族的少年起舞、五星红旗升起。她就是林妙可。在9日回到学校后,林妙可一夜之间,成了真正的明星,家里的电话被 打爆,同学老师也是通过观看现场才知道她在开幕式上担任的光荣任

  7. bianxiangbianqiao Says:

    Well, the Chinese have their own narrative, the one presented by the music director, which is quite compelling. The Western media have their own audience. I don’t think Miaoke or Peiyi is listening to VOA or reading British newspapers. It was a good ceremony all in all. It is interesting to notice that all the foreign media are responding breathlessly, like a pack of panting dogs. What kind of bark they give off is of little importance. What can they do about you? Withholding their approval? I am sure that will scare the heck out of many people in China.

  8. wukong Says:

    Chen’s interview translation in CND is for all to read, and his interview video is for all to see.

    Western medias are trying hard to propagating the myth that 7 year old Yang was REPLACED (or BANNED) because she’s too fat/ugly, but that fact is 9 year old Lin was the designated headline flag girl/singer in the final rehearsals, Yang was never to be on camera to begin with. But certain higher-ups for whatever reason deemed Lin’s voice wasn’t desirable, so they replaced Lin’s sound track with Yang’s.

    I said it before, but I say it here one more time: nobody banned Yang, Yang wasn’t banned, instead, Yang got in because of her excellent voice.

    Also another interesting choice of word I read a lot in western media regarding this saga: *admit*. For example, Chinese director *admitted* today that they faked …. fireworks/little girl’s voice etc etc. It made it sound like the director was confounded by an inquisitive and righteous (western) reporters and he had to *admit* the truth. But the fact the revelation came from the organizer themselves, he’s the first to talk about it, as part of cinematic, technical details on how they staged the show. They were just trying to present the absolutely perfect production, and they don’t think there was any problem with the technique which is quite frankly, of hollywood origin.

  9. wuming - wumaodang Says:

    Fake footprints, fake singing, fake audiences and under-aged gymnasts, this current onslaught is becoming relentless. The opening ceremony shut them up briefly, now they are finding their voices, facts are not going to stand in their way, neither are blogs like this.

    We have two choices:

    We can raise strong voices to challenge them, but how? Is the spirit of the Old Fool enough?

    We can ignore them, maybe it is just us expats who are trapped in a box with them here, when they are actually voiceless inside China.

  10. Hemulen Says:

    Sure, both girls are victims of the miming arrangement, no doubt about that. And I don’t really care about the “Chinese” or the “Western” narrative of this story; the organizers have discredited themselves in the eyes of many people, both Western and Chinese. Making the appearance of a girl singing a patriotic song synonymous “national interest” casts a shadow over the opening ceremony…

  11. wuming - wumaodang Says:


    You are posting on this site, where clear analysis and explanations are given right above yours and mine comments. Yet you choose to ignore them and repeat the same charges that were well rebutted. How do you explain that?

  12. Hemulen Says:


    There is a difference between “you are very cute but someone else is a bit more photogenic” and “you are ugly and we can not show your face”.

    What’s the fuss here, really? This exercise in semantics reminds me the sign in Shanghai which actually never literally said “No dogs and Chinese”, but nevertheless did bar dogs and Chinese from the park in so many words. Is the act of discrimination undone by the fact that the ban on Chinese was written somewhat more indirectly. This is journalism and journalists do interpret and summarize what people say, be it the West or the Rest.

    Now, this is what Chen Qigang said:


    That is more or less saying that Yang Peiyi is “not perfect”.

  13. Daniel Says:

    Yeah, I watched how NBC announced the news and it was a bit more neutral. They left out making harsh criticisms and pretty much said both girls deserved much praise for doing such a big task. That’s pretty much it. It’s pretty much the online sites and CNN that’s making attempts to make it more projecting, but I think they are sort of refraining going all out knowing it might actually do more harm to the girls than it should. At least, that’s how I’m percieving their reports.

  14. Hemulen Says:

    @Wuming wumaodang

    Where is your clear analysis and explanation? I just didn’t see it.

  15. admin Says:


    This blog got over 5,000 views over the past 24 hours. It is still a drop in the sea. But with more fools working together, we will be heard.

  16. Joel Says:

    @DJ and all

    While I like your effort to balance your criticism (at both China and America), I find your objection in this particular post ironic.

    I assume you know that in Mainland China, American-style concerns about children’s (or adults) self-esteem are irrelevant. People often don’t hesitate to verbally point out other people’s physical imperfections or scholastic shortcomings in public: “You’re fat!” “You’re nose is huge!” “You have a lot of pimples!” “He’s not that smart. His classmates are smarter.” This is so common, especially with kids, where negative criticism is an expression of care/concern and the pressure to succeed is insane. Here’s one humorous example (involving foreigners) written by my wife and her friend:
    Please stop paying attention to my…
    And here’s a Chinese example specifically about how children are treated:
    What Not to Say to Your Kid

    I have a hard time imagining the average Mainlander hearing that description on VOA and genuinely being offended at the disregard for the girl’s feelings, or even really noticing it. My teacher spent much of Monday’s class talking about how “fat” and “ugly” the Chinese weightlifting gold medalists are.

    About media that “just cares about putting down China.”

    I think that people who believe the Western media is “just out to put down China” simply don’t understand the West. I agree that Western media is often too biased, but we can’t forget two things:

    1. Many Mainlanders will only be happy with one kind of reporting on China: the kind that deliberately makes China look good, indeed, better than it really is. Anything else is offensive and “hurtful.” Even I’ve been criticized for my measly magazine columns, which I thought were already overly-polished, for not presenting China in the best possible light (by Western standards, my profiles on locals could be considered “puff pieces”). Many Mainlanders seem to expect reporting from foreigners that borders on tourism adverts. Anything less complimentary is considered “China bashing,” “putting down China,” and “hurtful.” (Seems to me there’s plenty of “Western media bashing” as well.) Many of us who write about China have no intention of “bashing China” or deliberately making China look bad, yet we are still criticized. This, to me, demonstrates that these Mainlanders simply don’t understand the West.

    2. The more that China insists that the world respond to its presented image, rather than to the reality that everyone can plainly see (and plainly see that China is trying to hide), the more Western media will be goaded into exposing the things China tries to hide. And this isn’t special China treatment. Western governments and major corporations are routinely subjected to this kind of scrutiny, which tries to get underneath the press releases and find out what’s really going on. Western news media sees it as a big part of their job description to “uncover the truth” that the powerful try to hide. The difference with China is that China tries to hide so much but then expects the West to accept its constructed image as reality, because in China that’s good manners. And in China there’s more importance and meaning placed on the projected image (face) than in the West. But American news media wants to “call a spade a spade,” and they are always suspicious of powerful entities (like corporations and governments). They will never agree to ignoring things that leaders want to hide.

    Here’s a key: the CCP’s methods of trying to craft this golden image of itself to present to the world are making a bigger impression on Westerners than the golden image itself. It may work well for a Chinese audience domestically, but internationally it’s a massive P.R. failure. But that may just reflect the CCP’s priorities.

    The much deeper question that all this raises in my mind is this: Can China retain its “face” culture and join the world at the same time? Or will China be forced to choose by a world that will refuse to play by the rules of “face” game? If China continues to engage the world but also continues to expect “face work” from the world, then Mainlanders will be continually offended and disappointed, and continue to misunderstand the West.

    When Western media or Western public figures are negative toward China, you take issue. But when they praise China, you insult them (“pack of panting dogs”) and try to attribute unflattering, ulterior motives that deflect any potential compliments of the foreigners toward China (like in your recent post about China’s power). It’s like you prefer to be offended by foreigners.

    When I first found this site, I was impressed with the seemingly thoughtful, even-handed tone from you (and Buxi). But since the Olympics started, I’ve been pretty disappointed, which is why I’ve avoided commenting on most of the recent posts. The potential for real discussion seems lower than usual. I’m hoping things get better because in general I like this site, and I know you’re capable of some constructive cross-cultural writing.

  17. wuming - wumaodang Says:


    Yang Peiyi was not replaced because she was never selected. Miaoke was selected after the 10 year old girl was deemed too old. Than in the last minute they decided that the voice of Miaoke was not ideal for their purpose and inserted Peiyi’s prerecording instead.

    What is your problem then?
    Miaoke was selected because she fit their image/performance profile the best?
    Miaoke was not replaced by Peiyi when they inserted Peiyi’s recording?
    Lip sync instead of live singing?

    All of these talked about by many people including me. Point out to us what did we say wrong on these purely technical points?

  18. Nimrod Says:


    But American news media wants to “call a spade a spade,” and they are always suspicious of powerful entities (like corporations and governments). They will never agree to ignoring things that leaders want to hide.

    What the — who are you kidding? The American news media does no such thing to its domestic government. Occasionally it does, most times not. I don’t think I need to pull out the blatantly obvious examples of the last few years, now do I? There is no such divergence between “face” and “reality” that differentiates China and America. Chinese media can be very critical of the government despite censorship. We’ve talked about this here. The only difference that ever was — and this is another blatantly obvious fact — is that between how people view their own country vs. how they view other countries. Sorry to say, but Americans are no better than Chinese in this regard.

    When I wrote, these breathless reports “just care about putting down China”, I was contrasting it with actually finding out the truth (if so, the headlines wouldn’t be fabricating exaggerations) or caring about children (if so, the headlines wouldn’t describe one girl as having bad teeth). So I ruled out two motives and came upon one. Would you like to suggest any others that are actually plausible?

    Digging beneath what China is trying to “hide”? These supposed “scoops” are taken from Chinese news that actively discussed it. The second girl was on CCTV getting an interview, for god’s sake! The only thing that these reporters contributed was to crap it up into the China=evil meme for domestic consumption.

    I haven’t even begun to point out how “counterfeiters” and “buck-teethed” are your typical stereotypes of Chinese people in the West. Am I getting too Freudian on these loser reporters? I think not.

  19. Wahaha Says:

    Joel, _____” Many Mainlanders will only be happy with one kind of reporting on China: the kind that deliberately makes China look good, indeed, better than it really is.”

    Sorry, that is not the case. before 1989, we loved everything about America, disliked almost everything that happened in China. We studied english day and night, and learned from West.

    The problem now is that West media never talk about the issue Chinese care, only the issue they care.

    To prove that, you can go to anti-cnn and look for a threat about Hu Jia, the most famous human right fighter in China, who was honored as a honor citizen of Paris. Hu Jia was a traitor in the eyes of Chinese.

  20. rory Says:

    On the whole I agree with many of the comments above; speculative media reports about why Yang Peiyi was “banned” are pointless, and possibly even harmful. Looking at the broader picture, however, I think there’s a reason why this “fake Olympics” story has caught so much attention in the foreign press. The Olympics, in an ideal sense at least, is supposed to be a celebration of human talent and achievement, not an ‘enhanced’ showbiz exercise to bolster national pride. Of course, the reality is different; hence the frequent revelations of doping, cheating, and all manner of supposedly illegal practices. But, fair or not, lip-synched singing and fake firework shots were always going to be regarded as being against the spirit of the Olympics, and the organisers should have known better.

    PS I would like to echo a point made by FOARP in the earlier thread on this issue: the British, on the whole, don’t really care about the London Olympics, and are probably expecting them to be an embarrassment anyway. I dread to think what the opening ceremony will be like, but I can assure you it will be nothing like the Chinese one. First of all, the chance that we would appoint someone with the artistic sensibilities of Zhang Yimou to direct it is zero; just look at the hideous logo we have:


    Four hundred THOUSAND pounds that cost!

    My personal hope is that they give a couple of grand to the guys from The Mighty Boosh and see what they can do with it:


    Now there’s a celebration of contemporary UK culture!

  21. Kong Says:

    I think, i.e. my guess is, the moral of the Fool’s Mountain parable is adopted by the founders of this blog, borrowing from it, the simple single-minded spirit — with the hope thru dialogues to tediously chip away and painstakingly remove the rocks and pebbles of the seemingly insurmountable cultural mountains that is impeding the progress of greater intercultural acceptance, understanding — for a more ping he world in this ever-shrinking global village we all call home.

  22. rory Says:

    @ Wahaha:

    I’ve been wondering what ordinary Chinese people think of Hu Jia for quite a while now. Can you explain to me why he is considered a traitor?

  23. Hemulen Says:


    It’s not a big deal, really. When pop artists in the real world are caught red-handed miming to their own songs or to other people’s songs they are often derided. Justly so. If the Chinese organizers of the Olympics are prepared to take the same risk, so be it. But don’t complain of media bias afterwards. The heart of the matter is that the organizers are not prepared to show a real kid singing with a real voice in a real performance, because they feel that the image of their country has to be perfect. That says something about official Chinese nationalism, we can debate the exact extent. The opening ceremony of this year’s Olympics was clinically clean of anything human or imperfect. Previous Olympic organizers have made other choices that are also very telling.

  24. Chops Says:


    I just can’t think of any kind words to say about that London logo 🙂

  25. Joel Says:

    Easy Nimrod. I’m not here to defend America (besides, I’m Canadian… we like bashing Americans, too! 😉 I’m trying to describe the gap in understanding and point out misunderstandings and misinterpretations. I’m not arguing that in America everyone is so truthful and honourable and in China they’re all liars.

    In no way do I think to say that American news media always lives up to its ideals. Obviously they don’t. But that’s not the point, and I said as much in my first comment, so I won’t repeat it here.

    Regarding the disparity between “face” and “reality” in Chinese culture, this is a major cultural difference between the way Chinese and Westerners relate. Yes, in the USA people care about their image and they have pride, but the way they think and feel and behave regarding their image and their pride is very different from the way Mainlanders think and feel and behave regarding “face.” This is a major part of what causes all the misunderstanding, misinterpretation, and bad feelings between China and Western nations. Because the relational expectations are very different, it’s easy for people to feel “hurt.”

    As for who’s better than who, and whether or not Chinese news media can critique their own government… why are you bringing this up? It’s irrelevant to this conversation. In fact, “who’s better than who” debates are irrelevant to every discussion. I’m hear to try and better understand, not score points for my race/culture/civilization/country.

    I hope we all understand that the Fools Mountain parable applies to both Mainlanders and foreigners. We all have a lot of learning to do.

  26. Nimrod Says:


    Yes, it’s very telling indeed. Chinese did something perfect, so they must be fakes, machines, or subhuman, and their government inhuman. Sums up what’s going through many small minds right now.

  27. Nimrod Says:


    All right… fair enough. But what’s China trying to hide this time? I don’t see anything hidden, as the Chinese media itself is talking about all these things. So what else? Is the act of striving for a perfect production in itself an act of hiding something? What?

    If you step back and think about this little media storm carefully enough, the only explanation is some people didn’t believe China could be capable of something close to perfect or original, or anything they think only they should be capable of, and in their stunned state, are being petty and nit-picky, but cloaking themselves in some kind of faux-investigative objectivity.

  28. Wahaha Says:


    here is the link,


    There are some English translation of Hu Jia’s letter sent to West in the thread. MOST in his letters ARE LIES.

    I wont go detail, here are some reasons :

    1) He can afford expensive car and house ….. without job. So some chinese believe he sold his soul to west.

    2) He sent letters full of lies to West, giving West the excuses bashing Chinese governement which lot of chinese believe is a great governments. (this is especially unacceptable to chinese cuz he lied.)

    3) He always magnify the problems in China to sell his point, and never give any constructive suggestions, like everything has been getting worse and worse in China, which makes Chinese believe that Hu Jia purposely ignored the fact in China and tried to destablize the country. ( most Chinese buy the theory “stability is paramount”.)

    Note : I posted somewhere that Chinese’s view of government is different from Westerner’s. If a Chinese think the government sincerely care for him, he will feel grateful to the government, Not like in West, people never say “thank you” to government.)

  29. wuming - wumaodang Says:


    “The heart of the matter is that the organizers are not prepared to show a real kid singing with a real voice in a real performance, because they feel that the image of their country has to be perfect.”

    You think it is much better to let a 7 year-old girl to sing in front of the several billion audiences and several dozen foreign heads of state, live? Suppose the girl makes a mistake and suffers for it, guess who is going to swoop down to tear Zhang Yimou apart for putting such inhuman pressure on a 7-year old.

    Well, I am done with you.

  30. rory Says:

    @ Nimrod:

    It’s not the ‘act of striving for a perfect production that’s at issue here, it’s how that ‘perfection’ was attained. As I said before, the Olympics is supposed to be about incredible performances of natural ability under intense pressure. Sure, reality sometimes doesn’t live up to that ideal, but that’s why allegations of doping or cheating are such a big deal when they emerge. Like it or not, the opening ceremony has been held up to the same scrutiny, and found wanting. A firework display that has been touched up to look better on TV is not that impressive once the truth is revealed. Likewise, a cute little girl singing her country’s national anthem is much less impressive when you find out that a) she wasn’t singing live and b) it wasn’t even her voice! I don’t mean to take anything away from either girls’ performance, they’re talented kids and they both did a great job. All I’m saying is that a recording of a musical performance, as great as it may sound, is not as impressive as a genuine live performance.

  31. bianxiangbianqiao Says:


    Thanks for the compliment. I enjoy discussions on cross-cultural differences and commonalities with serious and intelligent Westerners. There is very little to milk from the Peiyi “story”. The Western media are still jumping on it like a pack of panting dogs. Cheating? Faking? The music director himself gave this piece of information to a Chinese radio in Beijing. Western journalists got wind of the story second hand and third hand (no investigative reporting, just twisting whatever bits and pieces of words they can get from translators) and kept milking it. These people need no refutation; they need a cure.

    I am looking forward to have more intelligent discussions, but not on this topic. I hope you will not lose faith in me.

  32. rory Says:

    @ wuming:

    Yes, that is entirely the point, the singing performance should have been live. No-one forced Zhang Yimou or anyone else involved to choose a 7-year-old to play that role.

  33. Joel Says:


    This is no longer pre-1989 China.

    I’m not talking about hiding little things like how the performance was orchestrated. That stuff is so minor it doesn’t really matter.

    I’m talking generally about how face-oriented culture works: the family, or nation, presents a certain image to the public, and everyone relates to one another according to this projected image, while the family’s ‘dirty laundry’ are kept safely at home. However, at the international level, one nation’s “dirty secrets” can affect the whole world, and that’s why other nations care.

    On a national scale, here’s how it looks to many Westerners: the CCP is making lots of gestures and statements about improving human rights and rule of law, and expects the world to show up at the Olympics and fawn over China. I’m explaining that the West is very concerned about whether or not China is truly moving in the direction of honouring human rights, and in the direction of rule of law (not rule by law). The image China presents says, “Of course we are! Look at these achievements!” but the “reality” that the West thinks it sees (the arrests, detentions, restrictions, censorship, etc.) suggest otherwise. And to Western reporters, the more the CCP insists on their projected image, the more Westerners feel they need to highlight the “reality,” because to them the image is meaningless; what’s really happening on the ground is what matters.

    And it should go both ways. For example, I want the nations of the world to pressure the USA on Gitmo, for example. I don’t want them to stop until they close that place down! And I think other nation’s news media should investigate things like that to put pressure on governments to change (and most Americans feel the same way).

    I should also point out that the louder and harsher Mainlanders react to probing Western reporters, the worse the appear. It’s counterproductive. The reporters think they are raising important issues that will also benefit the Chinese people, and so when Mainlanders curse them out and verbally attack the USA, the reporters conclude, “wow, they really are brainwashed!” “Who’s nation is better” is not important to any worthwhile discussion. But “What direction is China really moving in?” is a question that Westerners care a lot about.

    It’s not only Westerners who look down on fake performances. Surely you know that there are harsh Chinese responses as well (like here).

    I don’t like that they faked the singing… not because I hate China (I don’t hate China) but because I personally would like to hear and see a real girl sing for real (mistakes don’t bother me that much), rather than a girl pretend to sing. I think most North Americans feel the same way.

  34. Hemulen Says:


    he music director himself gave this piece of information to a Chinese radio in Beijing. Western journalists got wind of the story second hand and third hand (no investigative reporting, just twisting whatever bits and pieces of words they can get from translators) and kept milking it.

    Well, for once the roles are reversed, isn’t that great? Usually the Chinese press relies on the foreign press to do its international coverage (all the while complaining about foreign media bias).


    Chinese did something perfect, so they must be fakes, machines, or subhuman, and their government inhuman. Sums up what’s going through many small minds right now.

    I beg your pardon.


    You think it is much better to let a 7 year-old girl to sing in front of the several billion audiences and several dozen foreign heads of state, live?

    This is a dilemma of your own making.

  35. Chops Says:

    If someone has to take the credit or blame for this performance, it is squarely on Zhang Yimou’s shoulders only, since he is the ceremony director, with full creative freedom.

    The rest of us were in the dark, and would have protested had we known earlier.

  36. heiheianan Says:

    After seeing the photo above, I can see why they didn’t want her to be on camera, look at her ears! They must be nearly a foot long, and they’re pink!!! Zhang Yimou was only trying to make a beautiful presentation for the world to see, he didn’t intend to duplicate Frank the Death Bunny from Donnie Darko.

    Seriously, I don’t mind the lip-syncing. Even the somewhat revolting two-girl routine will fade with time, but the most troubling thing about the whole affair is that the girls are both quoted as saying they don’t mind. What kind of asshat reporter would pose such penetrating and leading questions to little girls!!!! If the pundits and “journalists” were really concerned with any damage done to the girls psyche, why oh why would they assume two VERY young girls might be able to give thoughtful and straight replies to questions about how they reflect on the whole thing? If an adult asks a child a question with such serious undertones, one the child surely cannot understand, then in fact the child is the one asking the questions!

    Not cool! Obviously they aren’t (and probably haven’t been for awhile) ordinary kids but why pester them with all the stupid questions of this sort?

    *pushes his mouse away in disgust, begins to surf the net for soothing pictures of unicorns and dolphins*

  37. Wahaha Says:

    @Joel _______________This is no longer pre-1989 China.

    So what happened since 1989 ?

  38. bianxiangbianqiao Says:

    I think this story got milked so much is partly due to the lack of “news” during the Olympics. There are thousands of foreign reporters on the ground in Beijing, all trying to find something to write about. The game has been going on really well, except for the murder on the Drum Tower (a real tragedy). If there is no real news (AKA really bad things happening), the reporters got to be creative about their business. Of course, there is also jealousy. Let’s face it, it is the greatest openning ceremony in the Olympics 5000 year history, a real eye opener for all non-Chinese. So there you go, a perfect storm in a tea cup.

  39. bianxiangbianqiao Says:


    “Well, for once the roles are reversed, isn’t that great?”
    Western journalists have always relied on the Chinese press for their Chinese coverage, even when they have reporters stationed in China. When was the last time that a news in China was broke by a Western press? The slave labors in Shanxi? No, that they copied from Tianya BBS.

  40. Wahaha Says:

    I have two questions :

    1) According to 陈其钢’s talk, ” …第一个孩子大概是十岁,她是在我们整个前期铺垫“五星红旗”这个歌起了最大作用的。所有前面的排练都是用的她的声音….” From the very begining, they were ready to fake the voice.

    2) If there were ready to fake the voice, why did 陈其钢 say ” 我们有责任面对中国的听众,中国的观众做这样一个解释.”? doest that make sense to anyone ?

  41. rory Says:

    @ Wahaha:

    Thanks for the link, it was interesting reading. I can understand how Hu Jia’s viewpoints on Tibet would be unpalatable to many Chinese people. Personally, I agree with at least some of what he said, although his claim that Merkel’s actions had the support of the ordinary Chinese people was obviously untrue. I also think it’s a shame that popular opinion of Hu Jia focuses on his opinions on Tibet, when he has actually done a lot of hard work to improve public awareness on the environment and AIDS/HIV, and has also campaigned a lot for the land rights of the poor in China. I don’t see how any of these actions are a threat to Chinese stability, and to be honest I think his opinion on the DL (which, correct me if I’m wrong, seemed to boil down to ‘the DL is a nice guy and the Chinese government should give him a chance) would actually be beneficial to Chinese stability if the government listened to it. Finally, complaining about where he gets his money just seems like sour grapes to me. Here is a guy who has been forced out of his job, harassed by the authorities, and is currently incarcerated, just for trying to improve the lives of ordinary Chinese citizens. I haven’t seen any evidence that he receives money from abroad, but even if he does, does this really matter?

  42. bianxiangbianqiao Says:

    If the Western media is trying to create a storm on this story, they are really cheap. It’s a nonstarter too. Bottom line is, most Chinese are happy about it. The opening ceremony is like the Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) Gala. Being about to watch is and then complain about it is part of the fun. We are still watching pirated versions of it every year here in America, and still complaining about it.

    Update on the real Olympic news. The Chinese girls just won the gold medal on gymnastics.
    The Chinese guys’ soccer was really bad; but no surprise there. Good thing out of their inaptitude is that my cursing (SB and NB) got cured.

  43. bianxiangbianqiao Says:

    I just remembered that Beijing was going to seed the clouds to ensure clear whether for the opening ceremony. Was that faking and cheating too? That was a big fake, faking the whether.

  44. DJ Says:


    I am the father of a young girl. And I simply refuse to tolerate such blatant disregard of a child’s emotional and psychological well being regardless if it is done by someone in or out of China.

    I recognize, as you pointed out, that there is a lack of adequate awareness in China on the importance of respecting others’ esteem in various practices. This is something to be pointed out and criticized. It is, however, not an excuse for accepting such abuses from the outside just because someone in China doesn’t know better. First, those “journalists” should know better, shouldn’t they? Second, just because, as you put it:

    I have a hard time imagining the average Mainlander hearing that description on VOA and genuinely being offended at the disregard for the girl’s feelings, or even really noticing it

    doesn’t mean that little girl and her family won’t be hurt by such abuses, does it?

    Last but not the least, did VoA falsify such dispicable words? This is serious in its own right, isn’t it?

  45. Daniel Says:

    Come to think of it, this might be one of the most memorable Olympic games in time. Whether people follow it or not, like sports to having a distaste for competition or anything in between, there’s something about it that sticks out. For what has been said so far, the more imperfections, the more mistakes, the more flaws-hidden or exposed, the more cynical reports people will find will actually put a more human face on it than what others may believe.
    All these problems and issues in China that are being presented can relate to others around the world. It might, maybe and just maybe because I heard this from someone who travels a lot, but all the critcisms can produce a counter-effect to whatever goals the critics intended their actions to be for. A country that is still recovering from a natural disaster, wanting to display a type of image and having troubles internally and facing issues externally, and much more…with so much drama and controversies, this lip-synching event is really just another small smear.

    Relating back to the topic, although it was dis-heartening for that to happen, some news anchors and announcers on TV have mentioned how lip-synching isn’t the end of the world and sort of wanting to move on. (maybe because there might be new controversies on the way). I prefer live singing, but its not that unusual for such actions if it were to happen, and many North Americans are aware of this.
    Another strange thing I notice among some people here in the States is that a mention of the word China itself can produce a list of many subjects and terms, with both the positive, negative and seemingly neutral being on the same scale. Whether it’s real knowledge or not, it’s just…

  46. Wahaha Says:


    You underestimate how much Chinese hate people who try to divide China. Hu Jia’s letters about situation in Tibet was complete lie, which makes Chinese believe he is trying to help some evils in West divide China. That, makes him a HanJian, or traitor already.

  47. DJ Says:


    Regarding your question in #12:

    There is a difference between “you are very cute but someone else is a bit more photogenic” and “you are ugly and we can not show your face”.

    What’s the fuss here, really?

    First, please see my response to Joel in #44.

    Second, just to answer your question directly: the difference is whether a child is going to be psychologically scarred, potentially for the rest of her life. VoA’s “irresponsible” writing
    certainly could do such harm. Is this not an abuse of someone’s human right?

  48. Joel Says:

    I agree with you: that kind of talk/treatment is harmful to children. I didn’t intend to give the opposite impression! That girl will probably get the message that “you aren’t pretty enough” – and that’s sad. But let’s not kid ourselves — any damage that was done was done long before VoA reported on it. I’ve already pointed out that, whereas the US might go overboard with the whole ‘self-esteem’ deal, China has the opposite problem.

  49. Ted Says:

    “…a cute little girl singing her country’s national anthem is much less impressive when you find out that a) she wasn’t singing live and b) it wasn’t even her voice!”


    “These supposed “scoops” are taken from Chinese news that actively discussed it. The second girl was on CCTV getting an interview, for god’s sake!”

    Do these two comments point to an underlying cultural difference leading to all disagreement above?

    In other words, of course this is important to many in western countries… and of course this isn’t important to many China…

    Or is my observation still too broad?

    Sorry if this is posted twice, my last attempt I was redirected to an advertisement.

  50. admin Says:


    It’s strange. Our site doesn’t run any ads.

    BTW, the song is not China’s national anthem.

  51. TB Says:

    —Nimrod # 18
    The American news media does no such thing to its domestic government. Occasionally it does, most times not. I don’t think I need to pull out the blatantly obvious examples of the last few years, now do I?

    OK, let me go out on a limb and open this old rusty can of worms by posting this video.


    We’ll be hearing a lot about it in about a month’s time, anyway. It’ll be the same official versions, of course.

  52. Joel Says:

    Most Westerners don’t object to this fake singing because they think it’s a big scandal that the Chinese media is prohibited from reporting on. They object because they think it’s just really lame to fake something like that, and they think it’s really mean to disregards the girls’ feelings like that.

    I notice how the Chinese response you’ve quoted doesn’t even address the critic’s statement.

    I’m giving up on this thread. Maybe I’ll wait for Buxi to come back.

  53. TommyBahamas Says:

    1) Most Westerners don’t object to this fake singing
    Objection, your Honor — Personal assumption, hearsay, stereotyping, gross generalization.

    2)because they think it’s a big scandal that the Chinese media is prohibited from reporting on.

    Objection. Personal assumption — generalization of what “they” (the west) think.

    3)They object because they think it’s just really lame to fake something like that,
    Objection. Personal assumption & hearsays– generalization and assumming of what “they” (the East/ China) think.

    4)and they think it’s really mean to disregards the girls’ feelings like that.
    Objection. Personal unsubstantiable assumption — generalization and assumming of what “they” (the East/ China) think.

    5) I’m giving up on this thread.
    Thank you. Read a few books.

  54. KL Says:

    Several months ago western media was crazy about the Tibet and used tons of faked photos, now they are bitching about fake footprints and voices?
    I like the footprints and voices and the two little girls anyway, this is the most important thing for me. If a fake footprint is something worth the criticisms, the Disney and Pixar must be criticized right down to the hell.
    Crazy about criticisms, wake up? How miserable these people are!
    The Olympics is still going and athletes are competing and enjoying the greatest moments in their lives, who gives a damn about the bitches.

  55. BMY Says:

    VOA has no much credibility to me(well, I did love to listen to VOA in 1989). I won’t worry about what it says. The two girls don’t hear VOA anyway.

    I think I tend to agree with Joel overall.

    1. We have been talking about media bias for months and we all agree that all media are biased (western or Chinese): some use misleading title to sell more paper; negative stories sells more; some because of ignorant and there are some(not too sure how many) with politics behind etc. I think to see all China bashing has political motivation behind or to see there is simply no propaganda behind western media are both incorrect, in my view.

    2.like some others point out, this is a blog about China not a blog about America, bashing America or bashing some wrong doing(or right doing in different eyes) media won’t help too much to build the bridge .

    3.most of us agree the arrangement of the two beautiful girls were wrong. So whatever the west media say doesn’t change the underlying fact and most of people (Chinese or no-Chinese) don’t like that fact which doesn’t project a good image in the end. It’s might be a show but it’s not a movie show which sync lips been well practiced. This is the first time happened (or reported) on a Olympic ceremony. I think the political figure on the right top who directed the move lacks understanding of the world(they are the products of the time of their education decades ago). ZhangYiMou and ChenQiGang bowed to the political pressure.(almost all chinese online are venting at ZhangYiMou which lead me to think if someone is trying to swap the target) .

    4. the cheat(or technique) being used dose send a very wrong message to younger Chinese generation who already been badly(in my view) influenced by the wrong messages sent by Hollywood “beauties”(and Chinese entertainment industry as well)

    5. I agree with Joel’s analysis that Chinese people tend to care more of face/projected image(well, everyone cares about self image but we seem to care more)

    This is a lesson for everyone, could lead a improvement next time(not necessarily next Olympics). so be happy and move on

  56. Kingsley Says:

    @BXBQ#38 “in the Olympics 5000 year history”

    Freudian slip?

  57. Alex Says:

    I do sense that many of the discussions in this blog are moving away from analystic and thoughtful discussion, and becoming more and more towards ‘bashing’.

    We can all love China, and it doesn’t mean we have to hate West for reporting some bad news. I don’t want to see in this blog any more of “WE chinese …….. and YOU western people……” Thosen people that come to this blog do love China (or at least interested in China) and want to understand China from other’s persperstive.

    As many other have comments, I too preferred Buxi’s way of discussion. (It would be a tragedy if FOARP, Joel, Jane, Hermulan et,al no longer feel welcome to contribute to this website).

  58. Michelle Says:

    @BXBQ “Let’s face it, it is the greatest openning ceremony in the Olympics 5000 year history, a real eye opener for all non-Chinese.”

    erm 2700 years, but really about a thousand, and opening ceremonies were conducted only recently. Also, i don’t think anyone doubted China’s ability to put on an amazing spectacle, it is one of the things China does best. (Though DPRK does much more with much less =http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwKWttrEaSM)

    Anyhow, the opening ceremony was great.

  59. Ted Says:

    @ Joel and admin: Perhaps I shouldn’t have used “Vs.” The two comments cited are from previous posts in this thread and meant to represent parallel perspectives. Here is an alternate attempt.

    From rory:
    “…a [person] singing [a song] is much less impressive when you find out that a) she wasn’t singing live and b) it wasn’t even her voice!”

    This sentiment is repeated in several posts presenting the “western” perspective.


    From wuming – wumaodang:
    “Yang Peiyi was not replaced because she was never selected. Miaoke was selected after the 10 year old girl was deemed too old. Than in the last minute they decided that the voice of Miaoke was not ideal for their purpose and inserted Peiyi’s prerecording instead…What is your problem then?”

    This sentiment is repeated in several posts presenting the “Chinese” perspective.


    Do two comments point to an underlying cultural difference leading to all disagreement above?

    In other words, to some people it is news to be critical of and to others it is not.

  60. Michelle Says:

    Can we have a little less of this?

    “I’m Canadian… we like bashing Americans, too!”

    Just because American bashing is the accepted fashion doesn’t mean it’s good form. (Same for China bashing) Shall we make China bashing an offense and at the same time applaud America (or worse! American) bashing.

    Not to ‘bash’ the Canadians, but they are in my experience the most frequent offenders of this kind of thoughtless pandering. Let’s welcome commentary on the USA but avoid this kind of wink-wink-nudge-nudgery.

    I’m done using the word bash now forever.

  61. Hybrid Says:

    This is to Joel’s original post. I have lived in the west for most of my life and i think i have a pretty understanding of the western values and ideals. The media in the west, firstly are mostly commercial entities, which means that although their main operations are jouralism or “getting at the truth”, their ultimate goal is to make money. They are biased in everything that they do. China is not the first and will not be the last subject of the western media to be treated so poorly. Any particular media outlet will only try to cater for its own market which means that their news will only reflect their values and belief systems. To to otherwise will mean a loss in viewership and thus revenue/profit.

    Its ironic that these peopel that work in the western media are supposed to be liberals and “truth seeker” but yet they are so narrow minded and cannot to see things from another’s persepective, or worse yet, choose deliberately to stick with their own version of the “truth”.

    You cannot use our value on “face” to cover up the fact that the western media are extremely unfair, almost bordering on all out vilification when it comes to reporting of China.

  62. Kong Says:

    (It would be a tragedy if ………..no longer feel welcome to contribute to this website).

    I’m sure all who visit this blog are here to enjoy exchanging ideas with other human beings; while it is hard to be patient with the odd self righteous kind, spewing “truthiness,” a Stephen Colbert’s term, regardless of nationality, I must say this is one of the better blogs around — on China — which probably generally enjoys a higher percentage of polite & rational commenters, together contributing to intelligent dialogues.

    Ditto, JOEL : ” @Kong, I hope we all understand that the Fools Mountain parable applies to both Mainlanders and foreigners. We all have a lot of learning to do.”

    I think this is going to be a life-time and generational relay mission…PEACE.

  63. BMY Says:

    I strongly echo what Alex said as a long time reader

    I don’t believe any westerners here(FOARP, Hemulen, JD,JL, Joel and others) hate China(many just don’t like Chinese government or it’s policies or just different opinion). The real China haters won’t be wasting of time on this blog and the under educated street thugs won’t bother to be here either. These are intelligent people who lived/studied in China(FOARP,Hemulen,JL,JD,ZuiWeng,B.Smith and some), or still living in China(Joel, Smith,OTR and others) or related to China(Oldson,Kris,Henry,S.K.Cheung and some others). They are interested in China or have a life in China and has concerns about China. They might have different opinions based on individual’s background and it’s just human nature. And I think all of them have contributed a lot on this blog which is the one I read everyday.

    It would be big regret if we lose other’s perspective when we are trying to “move the mountain” and build the bridge.

  64. FOARP Says:

    @BMY – I listened to VOA’s short-wave broadcasts a bit back in 2001 (this was in my first few years in the far east, when internet connections were still difficult to get hold of) and yes, what I heard was most definitely propaganda, although it doesn’t really try to hide it – it even tells you that what you are hearing is an ‘editorial’. The BBC world service is a far better source of news – although, obviously, I’m biased towards their reporting style anyway, having listened to BBC radio 4 from a young age.

    @Nimrod – As far as I am aware, the US press is the main source of information coming out about the US’s torture program, its failure to find WMD in Iraq, the evidence that the US may have misled people as to the reasons for the war in Iraq, and every other scandal that has come out of the American government. Unfortunately, the Chinese press is not capable of serving the same function in China except in exceptional circumstances, but foreign media does at least expose some of the misdeeds of the Chinese government. If this gives the foreign media a much more negative tone vis-a-vis China – well, what do you expect?

    @DJ – Haven’t we been over the whole thing of simply reading the titles and taking umbrage at them?

    Finally – can we please give this kind of blogging a rest:

    1) Western news headline in China story

    2) Reaction to said, accusations of ‘bias’

    3) Reaction to reaction

    4) Reaction to the reaction to the reaction

    And so on ad infinitum – it’s like a computer that is stuck in some weird logic loop, the arguments never change, new information is always thrown out, or simply ignored, and it’s BORING.

  65. lbw Says:

    That’s so true how culturally Chinese are not as sensitive to their children’s self esteem as we are in the West. A friend of mine always likes to point out how my son is too skinny even though he’s an ideal weight. I don’t take it personally because she likes to point out how I’m overweight.
    (This is in response to post #16 – still getting through the comments).
    As for the fireworks – who cares? I was thinking why on earth did they let off so many fire works when they were trying to control the pollution/smog. Good on them for faking the fireworks. No big deal.

    As for this controversy, I am really disappointed that they did this. I was really happy for China that they managed to put on such a great show.

    Women are always judged for how they look – especially those in the entertainment industry – I just didn’t think it started at such a young age. But then again I suppose they do have beauty pageants for 7 year olds in some places in the world don’t they?

  66. raffiaflower Says:

    why is everyone worked up in such a lather, as though miming a tune is the dirtiest secret to come out of China since the so-called harvested organs scandal.
    1. Expect a rush of foreigners who want to adopt Chinese girls, and they will come with a picture of LMK, and say: “I want a girl like that!”
    2. Peiyi will go on to have a great singing career, if she wants to. Han Hong doesn’t look like Beyonce by a long stretch, but she still holds sway over millions of Chinese, doesn’t she. PY will get over the part that she was once “banned” for crooked teeth and bunny ears (if she ever learns about the contretemps, that is).
    The Western media is just bankrupt of ideas, that’s all.
    Anyway, great director Zhang probably learnt from previous experience that pretty face and good singing voice don’t always go together.
    Gong Li insisted on singing her own songs in Shanghai Triad. What a disaster.

  67. Smith Says:

    It is true that what wrote VOA is not nice, and far away to be true.
    what wrote UK Metro on their title is true:
    They wrote: “Little girl ‘too ugly’ to take part in Olympic showpiece“
    They did not wrote “Little girl too ugly to take part in Olympic showpiece“
    The difference is they put ‘ ‘ around the too ugly, thus it means they give someone else point of view (Chinese polite bureau and not their own.)


  68. Chops Says:

    An International Olympic Committee official on Wednesday defended the last-minute decision to pull a 7-year-old singer out of the Opening Ceremonies last Friday in favor of a cuter 9-year-old.


    Beijing Olympic Games organizers said here on Wednesday that they had lip-synched the girl’s singing at last Friday’s Games opening ceremony to ensure the “best voice and the best performer.”


  69. ChinkTalk Says:

    In http://chineseinvancouver.blogspot.com/ – “taikor” made a very significant comment that everybody’s overlooked – namely, ” The decision may not have hurt both girls, but the hype in the media would surely hurt them.”

  70. admin Says:


    Thank you very much for your comments and your continued contribution to this blog. I understand your calls for Buxi to return. We miss him too. However, isn’t it a little selfish to ask him to not fully enjoy his vacation in Beijing? 😉

    Seriously, if you are genuinely interested in dialogue, which I believe you are, why can’t you talk to people other than Buxi? He is articulate, knowledgeable and fun to debate with. Unlike a few acerbic commentators, he is always polite and respectful. But as far as I know, Buxi shares the same perspective as many other Chinese readers on this blog. The fact that you, who are living in China, and many my compatriots, who have lived overseas for years, keep talking past each other, just illustrates how high “the mountain” is.

    As I said before, this blog is a two way street. Everyone can submit their own posts and so far no submission has been rejected. All your submissions have been featured on our front page. So I hope, instead of giving up, you and others will take the initiative to lead a high quality discussion.

    And as a note to everyone, no matter what your opinions are, please show respect to others.

  71. Spelunker Says:

    “Lin Miaoke had no idea that the sound was being substituted and went onto the stage to perform in front an audience of billions flawlessly. Her composure under the pressure was something most grown-up could only dream of. She is the real deal!”

    A flawless lip-sync performance?

    Here is exactly what Chen Qigang said:
    “The reason was for the national interest. The child on camera should be flawless in image, internal feelings, and expression. Lin Miaoke is excellent in those aspects. But in the aspect of voice, Yang Peiyi (杨沛宜) is flawless, in each member of our team’s view. ”

    The bottom line is that Yang Peiyi’s image, feelings, and expression were deemed not good enough for the national interest. After the ceremony, Lin Miaoke was immediately praised for her singing (by Zhang Yimou and thousands of others) with no credit given to Yang Peiyi’s vocal contribution.

  72. Nimrod Says:


    Yes, I’ve seen videos of the mass games from North Korea before, and they are pretty amazing, too. Probably even more disciplined and “perfect” than the show China put on. But somehow I don’t like them as much… they just don’t seem “humanistic” enough … perhaps just as some don’t see China’s recent effort (and all the devices used) as human enough or impressive enough in the sense of celebrating human values.

    Trust me, I do see the point that many here have made on this. I understand that.

    But let me point out the other side of this: those performers in North Korea have been studied in a Western documentary once. The conclusion was they were like gymnasts or team athletes or group performers in any country who really get into their jobs/tasks and who train really hard all day and all night. They kind of enjoyed their moment in the national or international spotlight and being at the top of their game.

    If you abstract out all the political nonsense and kneejerk unease, there is something universal and human in this kind of feeling and effort. So similarly, I’m sure the two girls Miaoke and Peiyi are both extremely proud of their achievements.

  73. Hemulen Says:

    @”ChinkTalk” (is that an acceptable name?)

    “taikor” made a very significant comment that everybody’s overlooked – namely, ” The decision may not have hurt both girls, but the hype in the media would surely hurt them.”

    I’m at a loss for words, but this is what goes through my mind right now. To some people, any suffering inflicted on a Chinese person is somehow always the fault of “media,” that is “Western media.” Sure, it is wrong of the Chinese government to imprison Hu Jia, or whoever, but it is even more wrong by “Western media” to cover that story. The fact that a Westerners even dare to talk about a certain person is like spreading some vile disease. We saw that back when Grace Wang was hounded by some rabid nationalists. Numerous blogs (including this one) were paying lip-service to the idea that it was wrong persecuting her, but they claimed was even more wrong to give publicity to her and the way she has been treated. As if only Chinese people are always victims of circumstances and never really responsible for their actions, government actions and nationalist persecution are just forces of nature. I don’t know, perhaps we should all shut up and faithfully translate and publicize whatever is deemed reflective of “Chinese public opinion.” It seems that the mere fact that Westerners exist and dare to think is “hurtful” to Chinese people.

  74. May Says:

    I was googling up this particular piece of news about the “non-live” singing and stumbled upon this blog. The posts were so interesting 😀 I couldn’t stop reading. Decided to join in the fun and post a little 2-cents.
    My first reaction when I saw the news was; there’re like a billion people and they couldn’t find a person “fit for image projection”+had good voice+ had proper “showmanship”?
    I really wasn’t outraged about the lip-synching part, after all to me, the opening ceremony is just a show/a celebration. Everyone who took part in it collectively would have been proud to be a part of it. It’s really not like a talent show where the audience is promised And should expect authencity of every element of the show. Yes, it may seem a bit diverged from the whole spirit of Olympics…but to me, it’s Just a show, a prelude to The Games.
    As to Peiyi’s self-esteem, I think in the spirit of things, she could Probably be really delighted just to be a part of the show. For people who’d Insist that she could be Terribly hurt, I guess perhaps then she’d just take it as a lesson in life, a lesson very real in fact, of this superficial world. Plus it’s just no fun not to be able to be out there, singing and dancing and facing all the pressure to perform, I suppose. 😉
    Some people were commenting also as to how Miaoke would feel for “faking” things, I personally don’t think she’d view of it this way…it’s not like She orchestrated the whole thing, she was asked to do it, so she did it. Again, she’d just be delighted to have been part of the show.

    The point I’d like to bring out here is that, in terms of self-esteem, values, perspectives of different people are actually very diversified, in different parts of the world (we can see examples of this from the threads in this forum). For example, Some of the values that North Americans hold true and respect, people in other parts of the world just dun dig. It’s because cultures are different, people are brought up differently, honor and dignity are defined and viewed very differently. Same for what the Chinese hold very importantly, the “face”. The North Americans might not understand or agree with the priority placed by the Chinese on “face” over other matters, such as self-esteem and pride as defined by the North Americans. What about the other parts of the world? And that’s even too general, even within North America and China, opinions of people are so different. The different sub-ethnic groups in China actually hold very different believes, and are brought up very differently. People in India or Netherlands or Iceland or some place else, would probably think that there’re better things to worry about. I personally feel that there’s no right or wrong, IF no one is hurt emotionally, physically and mentally. If others are happy doing what they are doing, bringing up their children with different set of values (due to culture perhaps?) …who’s to say who has “better values”? My take is that as long as people do not inflict physical, emotional or mental pain upon others, they can just do whatever they want; one party should not impose the values they grew up with upon others…

    I personally go by a lot of the values held by the western culture, because I personally agree with them. And I would bring up my kids according to those values. If I were Peiyi’s parents, I would personally be upset, but if I was in that situation, I’d tell my child how to make the best out of the situation and how to view it differently, a lesson she/he must learn in life. However I do understand and see where the Chinese were coming from when they made those decisions, where their priorities lie (due to their upbringing, cultural values or whatever reasons they might have)… as long as they do not inflict any sorta pain upon me. I really don’t feel cheated at all just because I didn’t get “real-singing” from Miaoke…Bah humbug! 😀 …Who knows, one day China would become so powerful, then people in the “West” would be questioned for not following “Chinese” values….*shudder? OK, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s Chinese culture to disregard children’s feelings. All I’m saying is that given a situation, decisions were made and deemed 😀 for the “best of certain parties”. I guess my view is that priorities are different. Do you think there’s a possibility other Olympic hosts would have done the same thing? I feel it’s plausible.

    Having said all that I should give a little background of myself to show where “I’m coming from”. I’m of Chinese ethnic origin, but was born and lived most of my life in South East Asia. I’ve also had the opportunity to live in the US and the UK for extended spells, and shorter spells in Mainland China. I have close friends from Mainland China and from the US. People are really really so different, if we would all just let the other person live their lives as they see fit (as long as they dun inflict harm upon others), there would be more peace……wishful thinking?

    As for the journalists, it’s their habit to choose titles that would catch attention of readers…and they did..:) The readers are entitled to either believe or not believe what they read, and to filter out stuff as they see fit 🙂

    I still cant believe they cant find a “suitable-for-image-girl” + with good voice…out of like….xxxyyzzz number of people in China 🙂

    So what direction do you think China is heading, just based on an opening ceremony? 😀

    P/S: I thought the scroll thing was cool 🙂 I see some lobbying for Peiyi to be included in the closing ceremony (definition of inclusion: – out in the open – where people can see her :p)…I wonder how that’d turn out 🙂


  75. Wahaha Says:


    Please notice the difference between China and West :

    gold medal in China is considered as an honor of country, then it is an honor for individual.

    gold medal in US is considered as an honor of individual first, then it is an honor for country.

  76. Chinawatcher Says:

    In the past, I’ve said some nice things about this blog, and you acknowledged it in your 100th-day post. But increasingly, I find that the tone of the posts here is no different from those on countless others that nurse “wounded Chinese feelings”. This post falls squarely in the category.

    What I find most disturbing about it is this: just yesterday, DJ posted on this very blog on this topic, voicing his criticism (although it was mildly worded – or, rather, as he put it, phrased “in a positive way”). In effect, even DJ was compelled to acknowledge that the “lip-synch” episode in itself (rather than the Western media coverage of it) did not communicate the right values, that it communicated regressive looks-ist values to a whole generation of Chinese youngsters. Many other Chinese commentators (on other blogs and bbs forums) were rather more incensed – and gave voice to it, not necessarily couching their feelings in the “positive way” that DJ did. The entire episode sucked, the more so because it was claimed it was done in the “national interest”, and these commentators articulated that sentiment forcefully.

    But within 24 hours, the attempt here has been to turn the narrative on its head, with commentators here pouncing on Western media coverage, perhaps to divert attention away from the fact that the lip-synch episode itself (not the media coverage of it) has enough in it to embarrass Chinese people . To the extent where BXBQ says: “If the Western media is trying to create a storm on this story, they are really cheap. It’s a nonstarter too. Bottom line is, most Chinese are happy about it.”

    Well, BXBQ, a lot of Chinese are NOT happy about it. Why else do you think DJ – no Western media worshipper – felt compelled to post yesterday (even before the Western media had picked up on the story), denouncing (in his own mild way) the organisers’ action? And why do you think a whole lot of Chinese people vented themselves on other bbs boards, criticising the organisers’ action?

    And the ever-resourceful Charles Liu has dug out “dirt” on VOA (which is hardly news to anyone who knows what the VOA is about). The attempt here is patently to smear the “messenger” – rather than address the fact that the underlying story (which embarrassed even DJ yesterday).

    This is entirely of a piece with the way the anti-CNN and other megaphones pounced on some mistakes made by CNN and the other “western media” – and successfully diverted attention away from the underlying issue of Tibetan disenchantment. Their argument went something like this: CNN (and other western media) articulated the sentiments of of Tibetans; CNN (and other western media) made some mistakes in their presentation; therefore, Tibetan sentiments must be discounted.

    As someone else pointed out here, if you think that the mistakes that CNN and others made then were such a big deal (and I admit they are; as professional news organisations, they should not have made those mistakes), why can’t you acknowledge that this lip-synch episode too is a big deal, and will get the kind of media attention it has.

    Honesty demands that you acknowledge that it is the underlying episode (of the lip-synch switch), not the Western media coverage, that has caused Chinese people this huge embarrassment. Attempts to divert attention by flaming the Western media are merely intellectually dishonest exercises. I expected better on this blog. Perhaps it’s time to revise my opinion of this forum.

  77. Nimrod Says:

    rory wrote,

    “It’s not the ‘act of striving for a perfect production that’s at issue here, it’s how that ‘perfection’ was attained. As I said before, the Olympics is supposed to be about incredible performances of natural ability under intense pressure.”

    Fair enough. Point taken. I also thought it was a poor uncreative decision by a bureaucrat. Obviously I would be happier with something that passes the authenticity gut test.

    But my point stands: the “crime” doesn’t match the “outcry”. At all. The incident here would be a non-issue if it were in any other country. The fact that something so small has been blown up so large, and that Chinese intellectuals are actually wringing their hands about the terrible effect of this on others’ perception of how China is run in general, is indicative of the insidious negative pre-conceptions that people have about China (dishonest, closed, faking, counterfeiting, etc. etc.). The subtext is always to expand this and every other incident into “something bigger” and some totally irrelevant generalization about China.

    Why can’t people just talk about things as they are and not 上纲上线? That’s what I take issue with. That’s where the biggest fool’s mountain lies between the discourse among Chinese people and discourse among others, and prevents people from moving beyond extreme notions about China into a more nuanced space.

  78. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To BMY #55:
    couldn’t agree with you more. The middle ground, I think, is where the voice of reason most commonly resides.

    As others have said, I am concerned by the frequent nonchalant use of “bashing”. Not every critique and criticism of China is an attempt to “bash” her. And I believe most complaints are directed at the event or situation, and not at the entire country or all of her 1.3 billion occupants.

    I agree the Vof A was wrong to attribute the “words” to Qiyangs quote. I think most readers would’ve derived what he and the politburo “meant” all on their own. I suspect the 7 year old girl would also have made that derivation on her own, without the VofA’s help. And that, i agree, is truly sad.

  79. Wahaha Says:


    If such things happen in other country, the whole blame would be on the directors, or on individuals.

    When such things happen in China, the blame is on government and more or less on chinese people.

    That, is the difference. so dont blame that Chinese people feel offended.

  80. Nimrod Says:


    These two sentiments you mentioned are not in contradiction at all. Some of us are unhappy about this arrangement, even now. And some of us are also unhappy about the way in which it has been blown into a tawdry tabloid story by the foreign media which has little interest beyond getting a laugh out of it.

    And you said “Their argument went something like this: CNN (and other western media) articulated the sentiments of of Tibetans; CNN (and other western media) made some mistakes in their presentation; therefore, Tibetan sentiments must be discounted.”

    No, their argument did not go like this. This is your argument. Again, the sentiments of the Tibetans and the fabrications of CNN in those cases are not contradictory. It’s not one or the other. It’s both. This blog, unlike those other blame-China ones you’ve seen, actually has the honesty to point out both.

    I agree there have been too many hand-wringing posts lately, but I think it’s merely a reflection of amount of foreign media hype. One hand feeds the other.

  81. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Wahaha #79:
    “When such things happen in China, the blame is on government and more or less on chinese people.”- the blame IS on the government, or at least those who represent the government who vetoed the 7 year old appearing in person. However, the blame is NOT on the Chinese people, and to suggest so is to go looking for “bashing” where none exists.

  82. demin Says:

    Maybe it’s not my place to respond to your response to DJ, but please allow me say sth I think might help discussion. I can understand what you claim as ‘boring’. But I wonder if you have noticed that the single most popular topic during the contention between Obama and Hilary is not about any “real” issues, not even Iraq. It’s about “tone”. Tone matters. Tone hurts. Tone benefits. The “real” differences between the two canditates are really minor; in a lot of policy areas they are almost the same. The battle is on tone, or attitude, is about who can give a better future, about who can offer the “change” to jump out the “loop” of biting each other just for power. The attitude Obama offers or displays is to be positive, while addressing with no less effort and wit on “real” issues. And he wins over Hilary largely on that I dare say. It does not mean that Obama as a person, being really in power, can virtually bring US to a better stage. That we still have to wait and see. However, the message it sends is no less real and significant. That is, in this world, with everybody talking righteously and in name of goodness, what really matters is no longer that much about “substantial” issues, but about attitudes. Now, back to China. I believe this blog shares the same view on tremendous issues with western critics, human rights activists, medias, whatever righteous source it is. This has been shown repeatedly on a lot of posts so far. But what this blog distinguishes with other critical sources is most important. That is, it tries to criticizes with a positive tone. Maybe the reason of this is just because most of the authors on this blogs are Chinese. Then that is both natural and neutral. We critize because we care, because we care about this country and its people. Then there are people who don’t really care, but pretend to care, just in the name of “universally right”, for people universally. But they don’t care, or don’t want to care, that their language or deeds, seeminly righteous, could actually hurt. To enforce peace, end violence, protect human rights, they might take to break peace, use violence, and violate human rights, ‘temporarily’ they might say. This is also an interesting loop. To critize human rights abuse, the tone and dees of them might fan ethnic hatred and embolden violence. And they might actually hurting their proclaimed cause. These might be boring unreal issues in your eyes, but they do have “real” consequences. And I believe this blog is just to take this largely unnoticed area under eyes, and try to tackle some of them, dissipate some of the hazy mogs. Maybe this is why this blog is called “foul’s mountain”? I don’t know. But if you don’t like it, just don’t like it.

  83. Wahaha Says:


    Maybe not on this blog.

    The tone presented to Chinese is “Look, that is the government you have supported.”

  84. Wahaha Says:


    Look, Most Americans realized that the Iraq war was a ridiculous war, I am sure that they dont feel good about their support of this war 5 years ago. Will they be happy if I talk about the decision they made 5 years ago ?

    And if you go to a forum for US, they dont mind bashing their government and president, but they are certainly not happy if a Chinese talks about the stupid decision made by Bush, right ?

    The same is applied to Chinese.

  85. DJ Says:


    My perspectives stayed consistent through both posts. Perhaps I should just sum them up precisely here:

    1. I am most concerned for the well being of these two girls.

    2. Using “creative” methods to enhance the show doesn’t bother me. It is, after all, meant to be a spectacle.

    3. But I strongly dislike the mentality behind this particular arrangement, not the pursuit for superficial perfection per se, but rather the failure to pay attention to what it meant for the two girls. See (1).

    4. I worried about the inevitable onslaught of media attention because of (1).

    5. I am not surprised but nevertheless outraged by how it is reported in the media, particularly the one in VoA. The fact many approached this in a China “bashing” manner is not an issue for me personally, but I found their treatment of the two girls, hmm, lacking humanity. (By the way, this is the first time I used the word “bashing” in a long while.)

    6. This post is not an attempt to change topics and turn the table.

  86. spring2007 Says:

    Please check the site below for the official sechdule of the opening ceremony. The names of both girls (Yang and Lin) were on the schedule.


    I agree with ESWN’s comment:

    With respect to “Fake Singing Gate,” the comment below this one points out to a simple fact. The script called for a young girl singing . In such an important production, they would never have only one person and they will always have backups. In fact, there were three candidates, including Lin Miaoke and Yang Peiyi. The designated performer was Lin Miaoke and the other two were backups (as in, What if Lin Miaoke gets hit by a truck on the way to the Bird’s Nest Stadium?). For whatever reason, the decision was to replace Lin Miaoke’s singing with a pre-recorded version done by Yang Peiyi. It is not even clear that Lin Miaoke knew this was happening (because she may not be able to tell from the sound feedback). This is very different from the version out there which says that Yang Peiyi was rejected because of crooked teeth.

  87. yo Says:

    In regards to lip-syncing, I’m not too shocked by it, many people do it.

    As for the part were people “found out” the fireworks with the foot steps weren’t real, I don’t know about anyone else, but Matt Lauer during the NBC broadcast mentioned it when it happened. “Live cinematography” I believe was his statement about the computer generated images. So my guess is the reports I’m seeing a couple of days afterward (one on msnbc mind you) are either sensationalist reporting or the reporters didn’t get the memo.

  88. Spelunker Says:

    This comment also appeared on ESWN:

    Let us talk first about the switching of the singing. The overall director in charge Zhang Yimou specifically mentioned Lin at the press conference after the opening ceremony. He said that he was most touched by 9-year-old Lin Miaoke singing . He said that Lin had rehearsed many times and put in a lot of work. But in spite of all that hard work, someone thought in the end that her voice was not good enough and had it replaced. I think that this is bound to hurt her feelings somewhat. But let us imagine that if the decision was to replace her altogether, then how much worse would that hurt be? Here, I agree with the decision by the directors and leaders to keep her on stage and still let her stand on the stage, as opposed to sweeping her out the door. Of course, this is my speculation. Perhaps the real reason was that there was no one to replace her at the last minute, or perhaps director Zhang liked her too much, or perhaps director Chen thought that her image was better suited for the “national interests.”

    and this gem:

    The infuriating part is what Chen Qigang, who is the music director of the Olympic opening ceremony, said. He said that the actual singer Yang Peiyi was kept off “in consideration of the international image” and “the national interests.” This statement is bound to offend anyone and everyone. Even if Yang’s looks might displease the audience or fails to meet the aesthetic requirements of the director, he should have put it that way. Anyone who says such words must have water in his brain, and it would not be an insult to call him ‘retarded.’

    Also from the same commenter:

    What hurt Yang was precisely what director Chen said. Perhaps he intended well and he wanted to be fair to Yang as well as tell the truth to the public. But what he said not only hurt the self-respect of Yang, but also caused pain in other decent people.

    just one more:

    But what director Chen said not only hurt Yang (who did not have to be hurt) but it also hurt Lin (who was not hurt much before). For Lin, she now has to bear the bad reputation of “fake singing” at her young age (even though the decision was not up to her). She is regarded to have stolen the glory that belonged to another child. Is this a burden that she can bear at this young age? Should she even be bearing it?

    Hungry for more comments? I have a Chinese buffet of blog comments from sina.com at post #102 on
    “An Imperfect Perfection” Nobody has nibbled on them yet!

  89. spring2007 Says:

    Many journalists and commentators did not even watch the video of Chen’s interview. Chen did not say anything bad about Yang. Both Yang and Lin’s names were printed on the official schedule of the opening ceremony. Lin was actually the backup to Yang. Both girls should know only one could be chosen to perform. Now both girls get credits. Is this a better solution? 🙂


  90. Kong Says:

    A very good friend from America sent me this link to an essay by By Orville Schell that appears in “New York Review of books” on August 14, 2008. Title: China: Humiliation & the Olympics
    RE: Dark Matter, a film directed by Chen Shi-Zheng

    Chen and his co-scriptwriter Billy Shebar’s treatment of Dark Matter’s antihero is surprisingly sympathetic. Chen was himself a Chinese graduate student in the US during the 1980s, and has since—as a well-known director of both Chinese and Western operas—become one of the artists who have been able to bridge the cultural divide between China and the West. He understands the sensitivities that linger around questions involving insult, humiliation, and loss of face to China, especially when foreign arrogance is involved. And in the film, Liu Xing’s American Ph.D. adviser is arrogance incarnate. When Liu arrives in his lab, he is smugly told, “Well, feel free to challenge me all you want. Just keep in mind, I’m always right!”

    Check it out:


    Any ‘Mountain-removing’ well thought out comments? Thanks.

  91. Charles Liu Says:

    Here’s the reply I got back from chinese (at) voanews (dot) com:


    Seems they are pushing the responsibility for Chen’s “fat face/crooked teeth” mis-quote to English reporting, and citing 2+ foreign newswire.

    Anybody want to tell VOA what they think? Provide them more factual citation?

  92. Daniel Says:

    Maybe a bit off topic but I have heard of that work Dark Matter regarding the graduate student. I’ll detached for a bit in mentioning that graduate work in general can be quite grueling. Reading some of the comments here it does appear a lot of the you all appear to have some experience. Before adding in some cultural complexities, I think it might be worth investigating some of the un-pleasent sides of Academic work (and be honest, there is some dark shadows there) and possibly some knowledge regarding mental health.

    It might be the same for every topic. Before using culture and upbringing as a reason or excuse to limit others and oneself, check out all the other details as well. Also, at times, it might be culture and the upbringing as a cause for such issues, but it won’t be 100%.

    Back to any relevant mounting moving comments…even though every society’s history and conditions are unique, I think possibly some more knowledge regarding the world (not just the “west”) became more well-known, it might help lessen some of that insecurity. They weren’t the only ones in the world who felt hurt and humiliated in history by foreign powers. They each have unique ways of dealing with it. I realize that it’s up to debate and there’s much more which can be discuss, nonetheless, the main point is that overtime people will eventually find ways to handle with their historical-cultural issues when interacting with others without sacrificing their own dignity and values.

    I sort of agree with some of the comments regarding how people need to be in touch with reality at times. I don’t mean just the fantasies people may have regarding their nation and others, but also how not everyone out there is good-hearted. In a sense, we still have our animalistic mentalities because human individuals and societies, if they were to pick on someone, they will first go towards the people of “weaker” status and images.

    Nice link to resource, Kong.

  93. rocking offkey Says:

    This is somewhat off topics, but…

    Why do people think “good look” isn’t a talent? Worry about kids might be hurt etc? If good voice, natural ability to sing, is a talent, if natural ability to jump is a talent, why can people admit naturally good looking is a talent too?

    If a kid might be hurt because he/she isn’t good enough to be on camera, what about not good enough to sing? to draw? to jump? to be chubby and adorable?

  94. rocking offkey Says:

    I guess my point is regard to overbearing reports and comments about peiyi’s self esteem, what a terrible thing for her, petition to appear in the closing ceremony etc etc.

    It just occurs to me that much of that is people projecting their own frustration on little Peiyi. If I were the parent of Peiyi, I would tell her, look, you didn’t get on stage, Miaoke didn’t sing with her own voice, the kid next to you didn’t have either. Look alone doesn’t bring you everything, voice alone doesn’t bring you everything. You have your own talent, work on it. There’s no need to envy or feel inferior.

    The point is, as long as she was happy about it herself, and she was properly credited, what are we to say?

  95. BMY Says:

    @Chinawatcher,FOARP ,Joel, Hemulen and few others

    I fully understand your frustration and totally agree with you that whatever the problem the media outlets have dose not change some of the underlying facts.

    Like admin has pointed out, this is a two way street and the “mountain” is really high. I don’t think something like “boring” or “Perhaps it’s time to revise my opinion of this forum” or “I’m giving up on this thread” means be genuinely interested in dialogue as I know all of you are interested in China.

    From my observation in the past few months I don’t think Buxi has much different perspectives with DJ and Nimrod.

    And from my understanding nobody here has denied the underlying problems China or Chinese government or Chinese people have. Most just are not happy with the tone and the scale currently been playing by many media which has the possibilities lead to some unpleasant results if we look at the history.

    Let me repeat my personal feelings (I think many of other overseas Chinese shares the same) and why I waste of my time on forums while I have work and kids to look after.

    I’ve been lived in the west for quite few years and fully aware of the media nature. I don’t have a cable or satellite TV to access CCTV and I’ve no interested in CCTV. I never cared about the media bias towards China before as I knew the media were negative to every government and foreign countries. Bad story sells.

    But this year the media bias towards China has become overwhelmingly un-breathable and had lead to some very unpleasant events earlier this year. (of course there are root cause in China but please don’t deny media has inflamed the public).

    I believe Buxi ,DJ,BXBQ, Nimrod and CLC and some others on this blog, who are engineers and scientists not full time media personnel, were not blogging last year. I believe they did access western media before this year after more than a decades of living in the U.S . Has anyone tried to understand and asked why the same people who had been educated by the west and lived in the west for 10- 20 years didn’t care of the media bias before why they care about now? CCP spies? the 50 cents on top their already highly paid profession?

    O.K lets say about “boring” : “China no democracy”,”China no human rights”,”pollution,fake products” etc have been repeated for years every day? are they “boring” ?. I don’t think so.

    @FOARP and Hemulen

    I always respect you guys even I don’t agree with you and most of the time I understand your points because of where you came from.

    But now I have to point some of the flaws I don’t understand in your thinking.

    FOARP brought up you got shouted “hello” few times in Beijing to prove Chinese people hate westerners where you knew the thousands of other Chinese people in the street of Nanjing and Beijing didn’t shout at you and you knew you got forieig guest privileges in China.

    Same to hemulen who got stared at few times in the street and tried to prove how bad Chinese people were while thousands of other Chinese in the street didn’t bother with you.

    FOARP asked why the Chinese students waved Chinese flag in London instead of Olympics flag to prove how nationalistic those students were. But you knew there were just reaction of something happened before.

    FOARP and Hemulen mentioned “Nazi salute” when we were talking about “children salute” in the ceremony. Have you ever think of that’s a insult to those beautiful innocent kids? you might want to link CCP to something but how to say that about those kids as someone who lived in China for years.(I would have ignored if some ignorant people said that)

    How do you China expats say those “cheerleaders ” are ” fake spectators”. Is that a good will to show harmony and friendship of getting people to cheer for your country? Is the word of ” fake spectators” a insult to the Chinese kids who got organized to cheer for Japanese teams, for your UK teams ,for your Sweden teams. I won’t be suprised if a person who knows nothing about the whole story. But I was very surprised some of you guys said that. Is this a 好心当作驴肝肺.

    What I am trying to say is we all need try to understand each other. It’s a two way street.

    I still very much respect everyone . Please forgive me if I am a bit of emotional this time.

  96. Charles Liu Says:

    BMY, thank you for speaking up. I don’t think what we saw here is atypical, rather it’s a reflection of mainstream vew and media indoctrination.

    A few days ago retired NBC anchor Tom Brokaw rode a bike thru Beijing, as part of his China retrospective.

    He was fairly balanced with his 20 years of experience – until the end. As he congratulated Brian Willams for “pulling off the impossible” – broadcasting in Tiananmen, he casually pointed to the groups of children in the background and said eventhou they were told that day was student visit day, he is certain it is staged for their benefit – “nothing in China is a coincidence”.

  97. Spelunker Says:

    I’ve got news for the 50 cent folks: if you think the Chinese government did the right thing with regard to Yang Peiyi, then why is the Chinese government trying to prevent this news from spreading across the motherland?

    “China’s propaganda ministry deleted most online discussion entries, blocked access to video links showing Lin Miaoke’s lip-syncing and banned domestic reporters from reporting the story, after realising that it was generating negative publicity.”


    Chinese authorities have imposed a ban on coverage of the lip-synching episode from the Olympic opening ceremony. Chinese papers did not report the story on Wednesday, and links to it online have been barred or erased.


    I am also amused at how the IOC is comparing Yang Peiyi to Olympic athletes, saying that rowers often get switched out before competitions. First of all, how many people around the world tune in to the Olympic rowing competitions? If a rower is indeed switched out by coaches it is simply because there is another rower that gives the country its best chance to win. Yet in Yang Peiyi’s case she was replaced by a girl whose performance was clearly not as good and made to stand backstage while her voice got the gold.

  98. BMY Says:


    I agree with you that Chinese government did the wrong thing with regard to Yang Peiy so please stop labeling other people.

    you might not need quote other media of ” a ban on coverage of the lip-synching episode” as you can just go to the mainland Chinese sites to try out by yourself which would be first hand evidence.

  99. MoneyBall Says:


    Edited by Admin. @moneyball, your message is clearer without the ad hominem part. I know you can do better.

    who said they did the right thing?
    it’s a silly, even stupid, but not some kind of injustice needs westrn msm/bloggers to pour out their hearts crying.
    the only reason that’s happening, well, I believe you can figure out.

  100. DJ Says:


    Thanks for comment #95. Well said.

  101. MoneyBall Says:

    oh what yankies call us 50 cent folks we cant say dumS back?

  102. admin Says:


    You are a smart guy. Why do you want to low yourself to the same level of those who call people names?

    Thank you for your heartfelt comment. I am surprised that so many people still think “boycott” is a magic word. 😉

    Thanks for the update on the entry “an imperfect perfection.”

  103. DJ Says:


    I would also like to thank you for comment #82, with that very perceptive discussion of the importance of tones.

  104. Wukailong Says:

    @BMY: I think I understand why some of these misunderstandings take place.

    When I see very one-sided reporting about China in Western media outlets I tend to brush it off and think that I don’t get my information about China from there anyway, so I don’t care about it. But being Chinese and seeing this will of course elicit a very different reaction since you’re being directly targeted in a sense.

    What I’ve heard from both one of my brothers and my dad, it seems negative reporting have intensified and this has certainly aggravated the conflicts we’re seeing now. The riots in Lhasa were the dividing line. There are people in the West too that wonder if it’s really this bad, and feel annoyed at negative comments (come on, no need to bring them up during the opening ceremonies).

    As for all the other things, I don’t really think about them that way. Examples:

    – The children’s salute. Not a big thing at all (I even missed it when I watched the ceremony, which is still a mystery to me…).
    – Peiyi and Miaoke. Sometimes it just happens that I don’t feel the anger most people feel, and this is one of the cases. It’s a sad thing it’s been blown out of proportion.
    – “Fake spectators”. I went to the water polo on Sunday, and there were a group of volunteers in yellow shirts sitting there cheering on the teams. Never thought about it as something out of the ordinary, though my brother remarked that “they seem to like Australia.” 🙂
    – Getting stared at and sometimes helloed at – annoying, but I haven’t been that bothered with it recently. I never thought about it as hatred, but rather being unused to a multicolored society and not really know how to behave when exposed to it.

    As for “pollution,fake products”, I do think it’s a serious problem that shouldn’t be brushed away as picked up by the Western media. Pollution is indeed worrying.

    But for the olympics, I was happy to see that things have worked so smoothly during the games. Getting into the venues went without hassle, people were nice, the volunteers did a good job and in all, I’d give it an A.

    One thing I discussed with my brother was whether there were any similar discussions when the Soviet Union or South Korea hosted the games. Apparently there weren’t.

  105. BMY Says:


    Thanks for your understanding.

    I didn’t make it clear. I mean repeating of “pollution, fake products,democracy,freedom of speech etc” is NOT boring as pointing out the current massive media bias is NOT boring.

    Do you know why “Fake spectators” “seem to like Australia.” ?
    Because I told them to cheer for my now hometown team. 🙂

  106. Kong Says:

    @Demin #82, BMY#95 etc….BRAVO, well said!

    “I feel the earth moved under my feet,” TODAY – The “Mountain” is budging…there is a sliver of light thru the cracks, I could feel a slight breeze of fresh air on my face…a new confidence and resolve and harmonic balance in the speech. This is only the beginning, the road is long, the mountain steep, but thank goodness it has begun!

  107. Henry Says:

    Why does it seem the western media is just itching for any chance to criticize the fantastic opening ceremony? Why do these stupid articles attract readers? Speaking as a semi-westerner, I really think it’s hard for us to accept that a country and government we once looked down upon is on its way to surpassing us both economically and culturally. Our nitpicking of China is a pathetic sign of desperation.

    Of course things are more complicated than than, but that’s an important point that almost no westerners want to own up to.

  108. spring2007 Says:

    DJ: Have you sent your comments to Telegraph or other newspapers?

  109. FOARP Says:

    @Henry – . . . . and your proof for any of what you’ve just said is? The Chinese themselves criticise these things, and we would criticise them if they happened in our country also.

  110. DJ Says:


    No I didn’t. Charles Liu apparently did so with, in my view, the worst offender VoA and got a response that wasn’t surprising at all. See #91.

  111. Henry Says:


    It’s just a feeling I get talking to other westerners. And growing up in a western country and education system, it’s a feeling I have myself, from time to time, despite being half Chinese. It’s hard to accept that so much of the “common sense” in the U.S.A. is utter B.S., but I feel that way after living in China and talking with Chinese friends. I’m not saying that Chinese have a monopoly on the truth. However, the American media and education system raised me to believe that Chinese were basically all brainwashed and oppressed, and Americans were free-thinkers, and now it’s starting to seem like nearly the opposite to me.

    Anyways, what prompted my comment is seeing on zonaeuropa.com how virtually every big media organization ran a story on this petty lip-synching issue, and what’s more, downright lied about Chen Qigang’s words.

    As far as that little girl; maybe this sounds harsh, but I think it would seem strange to have such a well choreographed show and then see a girl with crooked teeth in the spotlight. I had really buck teeth as a kid, and I would never have expected to be on stage with those choppers. We shouldn’t raise kids to be so sensitive. The opening ceremony is a big performance. It’s not supposed to be “authentic.” The girls don’t seem to care, so why is the media making such a big issue out of it? Check out zonaeuropa.com’s quotes from the various news articles and you’ll see what I mean about how the western media is using this petty, ridiculously unimportant story to bash China once again.

    As far as the Chinese who nitpick the Chinese government at every opportunity, they are in the minority. It’s rare to find a westerner who has anything good to say about the Chinese government, however.

  112. perspectivehere Says:

    Hollywood Lip Sync Fakery: A Not-So-Serious Satire
    by Perspectivehere

    Poor Audrey Hepburn. She must have suffered so dearly when she was ordered by the heartless producer of the 1964 film version of the musical “My Fair Lady” to lip sync her songs. How cruelly it must have cut the beautiful young actress to have been selected for the role of ingenue Eliza Doolittle on the strength of her pretty face and acting ability, but to be told that her voice was, well, just not good enough.

    And poor Marni Nixon, the true singer — how awful she must have felt, to be told that she was good enough to be heard but not seen, because she was just “not as pretty” as Audrey Hepburn, which actually means they told her she is fat and ugly, even if they didn’t use those exact words. She knew what they meant.

    The producers had an opportunity to cast Nixon as Eliza Doolittle, but they chose not to.

    Why not? Marni Nixon was the unseen voice of numerous well-loved Hollywood movie musicals, including “The King and I” and “West Side Story”. Could the producers not have done something courageous and taken the chance that the public would have preferred to see Marni’s face, instead of Audrey Hepburn, Deborah Kerr and Natalie Wood in those films?

    But they did not do the right thing, and lost an opportunity to show the face of the true singer. And all Americans, and the world, suffered a missed opportunity to experience real change.

    Such is the failure of American society, the obsession on casting movie musical actresses with attractive faces and acting ability, when the reality is that good singers come in all shapes and sizes and looks, and not all of them can act.

    An opportunity to present the truth was lost.

    The two who suffered most, Hepburn and Nixon, were likely scarred emotionally and psychologically by the experience. They must have known that forever after they would be stigmatized as being less-than-perfect in front of the millions who watched the movie over the subsequent 44 years.

    Did the producers not give any thought to their feelings? Of course not!

    Needless to say, neither performer admitted any criticism. That’s because they knew too well that the Hollywood system brooks no dissent. One complaint and they would have been labeled ‘difficult’, ‘a prima donna’, ‘unprofessional’ and ‘hard to work with’. Then it would have been impossible to get any more jobs. Such is the cruel system under which these women worked, where they compromised their free speech rights in order to continue their livelihood. So these women were actually victimized twice, first by the insult of being told they are not good enough, then by being muzzled from speaking out about their victimization. Reporters Without Borders – are you listening?

    Any system that represses the individual will never be successful.

    Never mind that both became famous for their performances and have gone down in film history as being great for what they each were: Hepburn a great actress and Nixon a great singer. Never mind that My Fair Lady won 8 academy awards, including Best Picture.

    All the public acclaim cannot overcome the fact that at the heart of the picture is a lie, one that can never be covered up or forgotten no matter how much the Hollywood propagandists try to convince us otherwise.

    The producers could have done the right thing by selecting only one of the two performers, but they didn’t. They could have chosen to respect the feelings of these performers, but are we not surprised that they failed to do so?

    So what if Hepburn was only a mediocre singer (in whose opinion anyway?), and Nixon was not as good an actress (again the tyranny of arbitrary standards – the hallmark of totalitarian regimes!)

    Using the face and voice of one performer alone — that would have been the right thing to do. But the producers were cowardly — cowardly because of their need to maintain Hollywood’s hollow legitimacy in the misguided belief that the public will only accept good-looking actresses who can sing, in movie musicals.

    When all is said and done, what is at stake here is the truth with a capital-T. This is what Hollywood cannot handle.

    There are those who say truth doesn’t matter here, that movies are, after all, just make-believe, a “show” for mere amusement.

    But let’s tell it like it is, folks. There will always exist bought mouthpieces who offer up the pap that there is no truth. Don’t believe ’em. These are the spokespersons for the Big Lie, the banal evildoers who subsist in their make-believe world where principles don’t count. They are the footsoldiers for a fascist system of so-called “entertainment” that represses 300 million Americans and the billions around the world that consume its poisonous products, in cheap pirated DVDs and copyright-violating internet downloads.

    They will try to convince you that the people are not ready for the truth. Well, when will they be ready? When will Hollywood finally allow more voices to be heard? When will Hollywood offer the unvarnished truth instead of manufactured lies in the guise of entertainment? When will dissident voices, the unattractive, the ugly, the sick and crippled, the hopelessly obese – when will they be given a true voice in Hollywood, instead of the stereotyped ridiculous and patronizing portrayals that we have been subjected to for decades?

    Cruel, bad Hollywood.

  113. MutantJedi Says:

    Bad and cruel Hollywood!

  114. Charles Liu Says:

    DJ, I fowarded your update and program guide scan to VOA, here’s their response:









    Essentially VOA is sticking to the “somebody said ‘fat face and crooked teeth'” line to justify their story. But they have agreed to not attribute the quote to Chen Qigang. So who said it? Nobody knows.

    To them, “image” means CCP hates little girls, and put them down with “fat face” derision.

  115. TommyBahamas Says:

    LOL~! Talk about making a mountain out of a mole hill. Much ado about Nothing; cultural lynching is what this is.
    @perspectivehere, No offence but you have a Very twisted perspective that has a ring of anything but certainly not the truth with a capital T, I might add. If I were hiring for a manager with logical thinking, I would certainly not consider your application knowing that you wrote the above satire.
    Acting is a skill like any other skills.If Marni Nixon couldn’t sing, her common looks wouldn’t be an asset or even allowed her access into the film industry. Being a teacher or getting involved in amateur plays might’ve been her fate. As for Audrey Hepburn, it was not her singing skill but her elegance (And God, was She beautiful!) and her talent as a dancer and actor that got her hired into show business. From Tinseltown to New York city, hundreds of artists are turned away every single day in auditions by casting directors either for Broadway , off-Broadway shows, movies, recording contracts, stand-in actors, etc. Get real, there is nothing more saliently realistic in the dream manufacturing world that produces glamorous stars and entertainment. Hell, the world is one big “survival of the fittest” eco-system. Our societies, the job market, the educational system, the mating games we participate in. Ph.Ds are doing manual work, MBAs on unemployment, career atheles and Olympians coaching coach potatoes who pay gym fees, beauty queens earning their livings on their backs, sports legends & geniuses buried in pauper’s graves etc; the list goes on.

  116. FOARP Says:

    @Henry – I would say that the story was newsworthy – the fact that it was put up on this site shows as much. Now, as a ‘westerner’ from the UK, I also think that much that is thought here in the general population of the UK about China is out of date or incorrect, but I also think that the general narrative – that China is a country that is experiencing rapid economic growth and modernisation but at the same time is a nation ruled by an un-democratic and un-representative government – is a true one. In this specific case the decision not to use a particular girl has been justified for political reasons – using a girl with crooked teeth would make China look bad. Does this demonstrate something about modern China? Well, I’ll admit that taken out of context it might give you a skewed impression, but read along with everything else that is written about China it gives an accurate one.

  117. JXie Says:

    Personally love a good puzzle. Thanks Charles Liu for the start. Allow me to dig deeper just for the fun of it.

    * First a google news search with keyword “teeth opening ceremony”, there are a lot of returns.

    * Take out those who picked up from AP (“-AP”).

    * Further limit with dates 8/12 to 8/13, when the “crooked teeth” meme first broke in the English world.

    * Now the number of returns is more manageable. Reverse sort by dates. Look over the first 20 or so pages. The google spiders work pretty hard, and pieces from major news outlets rarely take more than a few minutes to hit the google news.

    * This is the source in the English world, especially given the richness of its content that wasn’t fully picked up by others: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/olympics/article4512250.ece

    * It credits china.com.cn for the picture. Now use baidu.com instead since its spiders on Chinese contents are more reliable. The keywords are “site:(china.com.cn) 林妙可 杨沛宜”. The page was removed by china.com.cn. However there was a baidu cached page: http://tinyurl.com/62oyun. No mention of crooked teeth and chubby/fat face.

    Conclusion: the meme of “crooked teeth” and “chubby cheek” was started by Jane Macartney and Ashling O’Connor of The Times (The UK newspaper).

  118. wuming Says:


    Wow, nice piece of detective work.

  119. DJ Says:


    Nice! How about put it in the comment section of that Times Online article and ask for a response?

  120. JXie Says:

    The news is a few days old and they are some 100 comments already, and you think one more comment will?

    For what they have done to that girl, I think some sort of pressure on them to issue a formal apology is in order. As a modern man, we all have some sort of ADD. I just happened to read ESWN’s piece and figured that it wouldn’t take me long to find out the source of the meme.

    Anyone else care to pick up the baton, and figure out a way to pressure The Times? What they have done is pretty low, with that quite amusing sense of self righteousness nonetheless.

  121. JXie Says:

    read _AAD_ adult attention deficit.

  122. Kev Says:

    And what happened with Nilly Vanilly? They got booed off the stage after they were caught lip syncing and NEVER had a career EVER again. What about the singers behind the success? I sure as hell didn’t know what they did afterwards. Point is, give credit where its deserved. Albeit Lin had a great face, but, should we really take a step back to the 1920 – 1980’s when they STOLE music from starving minorities and made it their own? That was an ugly, jumbled, american mess. Don’t follow us.

  123. TommyBahamas Says:

    Wow, talk about wolves in sheep skin, the devil in priests’ garbs, bleeding hearts with machine guns – these “freedom and democracy” war and hate mongers.
    Good job, JXie!!!!
    Jane Macartney and Ashling O’Connor of The Times (The UK newspaper).

  124. TommyBahamas Says:

    The word “ILLUSION” is missing from this sentence.

    “but read along with everything else that is written about China it gives an accurate one.”

  125. Hemulen Says:


    It seems that you are brining up stuff here from previous threads. Anyway.

    Have you ever think of that’s a insult to those beautiful innocent kids?

    Why do you bring the beautiful innocent kids into this, as if that made any criticism impossible? That is a kind of emotional blackmail that is not conducive to any serious discussion. This is very simple. I don’t think that questioning the pioneer movement in China is insulting those who take part in it. The responsibility for this movement rests on the adults who are in charge of it and the parents who allow their kids to take part. Before Zhang Yimou, whom I used to respect, and others set up this ceremony, they should have thought twice of what impression the flag raising and the salutes will leave outside spectators, especially Europeans, who are very familiar with this kind of symbolism. And Chinese people watching it should ask themselves why a ceremony – which is almost completely derivative of Europan totalitarianism in its heyday – has come to stand as a symbol for China as a nation. And traditional Chinese symbolism, ceremony and decorum are as far as you can get from the other ostentatious muscular mass exercises!

    Why is that remnants of old school European totalitarianism exercises such tremendous power of the imagination over so many Chinese, and why is it an insult to bring it up? It is hardly a secret that Hollywood has drawn massively on European fascism. Anyone who has seen Leni Riefenstahl’s “Triumph of the Will” will never see “Star Wars” with the same eyes again.

  126. wuming Says:


    I am not familiar with what kind of youth organizations that European youngsters participate in. Here in Unite States, the best know organization is Boy Scouts of America, whose rituals, uniforms,organization principles bears much more superficial resemblance to Hitler Youth than the Young Pioneers do. But should anyone be calling attention to that, of course not, you will be laughed out of the country.

    There are only so many ways human group rituals can be conducted. The fact that Hitler, Stalin, Mao or Gangis Kan followed a particular set of rituals and gestures should not make them taboo automatically. Blindly applying such politically correct rules to human activities is much closer to Hitler in spirit than the Boy Scouts in America or the Young Pioneers in China.

  127. BMY Says:


    I am sorry if you fell offended. I am always OK with criticism and fully understand you dislike CCP.(I don’t like many of their policies either. But I don’t think everything they do is wrong)

    But the pioneer salute from old Europe has been exercised by generations of young Chinese to show the love of the country (some might link it to communism) which is the fact you might need try to understand. I still don’t see necessarily compare with Nazi’s salute.

    Whether a Olympic ceremony in China or a soccer world cup medal in Italy been seen as a symbol for the country or not, I don’t have problems either way as people are different . some people have world cup fever and some people have Olympic fever If people enjoy ,let them enjoy. I won’t say my view of these sports events is the only right one.

  128. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To PerspectiveHere #112:
    interesting narrative. I was half expecting Morpheus to offer me a red pill by the end of the piece.

    However, if you compare Hepburn with these 2 young girls, several important differences should be emphasized:
    1. that was 1964; this is 2008.
    2. Hepburn was an adult; here we’re talking a 7 and a 9 year old
    3. Hepburn had options other than committing herself to the Hollywood “system”; she subjected herself by choice; I doubt these two girls were afforded such.

  129. DaMai Says:

    Just to clarify briefly on the Boy Scouts, they were started in 1910 and are probably one of the oldest organizations for boys to participate in activities (10+ years before the formation of the Hitler youth). They were created to provide woodscraft activities and training to young boys, modeled after the knowledge of many of the New England American Indian tribes.

    In fact, a worldwide Scouting movement was started by the British and banned/abandoned in Germany for the more militaristic Hitler Jugend training/activities.

    The above is just to provide a little historical narrative and position for the aforementioned groups. I honestly made no connection with the Nazis on the salutes or anything during the ceremony, however, I do think that the goose-stepping was in poor form. For many ‘westerners’, it simply conjures up images of the cold war, iron curtain – in essence, bad.

    To clarify the goose-stepping example, regardless of whether or not people think that feelings, ideas should be attributed to particular actions, salutes, etc, they often are, and that’s something that needs to be dealt with. I work in PR and one of the main things we deal with is reputation management, etc. If for instance I was advising Carrefour on how to handle Chinese perceptions of their brand, I would say that whether you think it’s fair or not, many Chinese are angry about torch protests and a variety of other things, which they have then linked to your brand. Even if you don’t think that these reactions and associations are justified, they are nonetheless still there and affect your brand, and you must deal with it. Certain actions, words, etc are catalysts for certain reactions. Sometimes these reactions may be justified or logical, sometimes not, but either way, we still have to realize that and work with them – a sentiment that is parallel to the reasons why those of us from east and west are still continuing this discourse and trying to understand one another.

    Apologies for the rambling nature of the post, I always only intend to write a sentence or two, but it inevitably balloons into a miniature article.

  130. Hemulen Says:


    Hmm. As I said before, what sets Hitler Youth and the Pioneer Movement apart from the Boy Scout movement is that they are tied to the ruling parties in authoritarian/totalitarian countries. They are basically recruitment agencies for the government and by failing to join you may ruin your career prospects. That is a very efficient way of ensuring ideological conformity among children in their formative years. It would be interesting to find numbers on how many overseas Chinese students have taken part in the pioneers as kids, and to see how it correlates in participation in mass events supportive of the Chinese government this year.


    Sure, the pioneer salute (NOT “children’s salute) has acquired its own meaning in China to a certain extent. But this is not the only example and the question remains: why does fascist symbolism and imagery still seem to have such power over the minds of so many people, including Chinese? Why has the PRC chosen to retain so many remnants of old European fascism? When China at last got the chance to organize the Olympics, why did Beijing chose to take the torch relay – which was invented at the Berlin Olympics 1936 – to new heights of hubris, when there are so many other symbols that can be appropriated, reinterpreted or reinvented?

    On a different note, fascism and sports are a questions that many people have struggled with ever since the 1936 Olympics. Here is a classic article on the topic:


  131. spring2007 Says:


    You cannot deny that Jane Macartney and Ashling O’Connor were very creative.
    They reminded me of Liu Lanfang or Yuan Kuocheng 🙂

  132. Zhengyou Says:


    Did you do your searches in English only or Chinese, too? I searched for 杨沛宜 牙齿 on Baidu and got this interesting scrap from the cache on Wangyi article… but it’s been deleted!

    《歌唱祖国》非林妙可所唱 网友热捧原唱杨沛宜 网易 2008-8-12 19:21
    杨沛宜的生活照 8月12日讯(文/Juna) …成为各大媒体报道的对象,昨天开幕式的音乐总监陈其钢接受采访时说到《歌唱祖国》的演唱者并非林妙可,而是7岁的小女孩杨沛宜,陈其钢透露,由于杨沛宜正在发牙齿,…

    Note the date, the 12th, and also the (cut off) reference stating that:

    “Becoming a big media story, yesterday’s Opening Ceremony Head Musical Director Chen Qigang was interviewed and revealed that “Ode to the Motherland” wasn’t sung by Lin Miaoke, but rather by 7 year-old little girl Yang Peiyi. Chen Qigang revealed that because Yang Peiyi’s teeth are coming in…”

    Wouldn’t it be fun to read the whole article? It would be interesting to do a side-by-side comparison search across languages, but since the articles are being deleted from sinospace, that wouldn’t reveal much, would it? I guess in the absence of a Chinese-language evidence trail, you must be right. Right?

  133. BMY Says:


    I am still not aware of “Why has the PRC chosen to retain so many remnants of old European fascism?” I know PRC has so many remnants of old European communism. (to compare communism and fascism is another big topic). You are very welcome to educate me what are the remnants of old European fascism in PRC.

    Torch relay from my understanding is about Olympic spirit. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olympic_Flame . Beijing 2008 is not the only time we had torch rely after 1936.

    “It would be interesting to find numbers on how many overseas Chinese students have taken part in the pioneers as kids, and to see how it correlates in participation in mass events supportive of the Chinese government this year.”

    I think I can give you the answer now(I think you knew the answer as a China expat). Almost every school kids in PRC is a member of the youth pioneer (少年先锋队)according to my own experiece.(there was only 1 or 2 not the member of it in my class).

    But to link the pioneer youth with this years pro-China protectors is over simplified. We have talked about the protesting in the past few months just on this blog along and don’t we all know the causes from every angle/perspective now.

  134. JXie Says:

    Zhengyou, here it’s baidu’s cache of your piece: http://tinyurl.com/5jfo4j. As stated in my earlier comment, I limited my Chinese search to china.com.cn only since that was what the Times credited its picture to.

    The netease piece did mention Yang is growing her teeth, but nowhere stated or even implied Yang is ugly. Actually it’s argued by many that Yang is a lovely girl in the same piece.

    The question in hand is who started the meme that Yang is too ugly (“crooked teeth” and “chubby cheek”) for the role. It’s certainly a good idea to ask Macartney and O’Connor where they got the idea from.

    Also who started the meme is only half of the equation. The other half is attributing that to the organizer of the opening ceremony. Now, where did they get that from also.

    2 good questions to ask.

  135. Charles Liu Says:

    Okay, it seems VOA has changed their story. The headline in Chinese has been deleted, instead there are those two OpEd. English version has removed references to “fat fact” and “crooked teeth”, and replaced them with “unattractive”.

    I’m really tired of this, China.com article didn’t say it, and Chen didn’t say “unattractive” either. Now where did VOA get “unattractive”?

    At this point I really don’t want to know.

  136. BMY Says:


    Did you request VoA to change their wording? It’s not quite right but still a step forward .Good work !

    a rock of the mountain ! 🙂

  137. BMY Says:

    Gee, Sydney Morning Herald has just found out it was a show and the kids were little actors


    SMH is far behind.

  138. Hemulen Says:

    I think I can give you the answer now(I think you knew the answer as a China expat). Almost every school kids in PRC is a member of the youth pioneer (少年先锋队)according to my own experiece.(there was only 1 or 2 not the member of it in my class).

    But to link the pioneer youth with this years pro-China protectors is over simplified. We have talked about the protesting in the past few months just on this blog along and don’t we all know the causes from every angle/perspective now.

    Hmm. Sure, there is no cause an effect relation here. But if most Chinese youth that go and study abroad took part in the pioneer movement, then it is not wide of the mark to say that they have been subject to indoctrination. The age between 6 and 14 are crucial years in your development, when much of your world view and values are shaped. This is quite a good explanation why so many mainland Chinese default to the official nationalism that is propagated by the PRC and why so many are seemingly unaffected by having stayed abroad.

  139. Charles Liu Says:

    BMY, during the US broadcast of the opening ceremoney, the NBC announcer stated the children were from “local art schools”.

  140. Dandan Says:

    BMY and Charles Liu

    The Times and The Guardian got the story too, but judging by the comments, people seems to be bored by all these constant over-nitpicking.


  141. Charles Liu Says:

    I’m banned on PKD, so I’ll have to say it here.

    I’m not a “Chinese blogger” – was not born in Mainland, have never been citizen of the PRC a day in my life. My criticism of VOA is from the position of an angry US tax payer who thinks this cold-war style propaganda is a waste of my money.

  142. Summer Says:

    So if I may post from the point of view of someone Andean, South America… a place where we do things collectively.

    I loved both girls for what they gave the world. I am so proud of them both for performing together. I will remember their performance for the rest of my life. Thank you girls. You were more than great!!!!

    If anyone hurt these girls, and I really don´t think they are hurt at all, and they said they were proud… it is the Occidental media machine.

  143. Lime Says:

    I haven’t had a chance to read all 142 comments here, so sorry if someone has already brought this up.

    Do you guys think that if this Olympics had been held somewhere in America and this same thing had been done with two little American girls in the opening ceremonies, the slant the Guardian et al gave this story would have been any different?

  144. Daniel Says:

    If it was held somewhere in America…maybe. It depends. I’m pretty sure they would nit-picked just as much but the thing is for some reason, I think the Americans will react probably just as passionately (or at least allow an organization to help express their concerns) if some little details were missing plus if other news agencies, especially foreign ones, were to add in a little details of their own. There are some cynical people out there or those who don’t care but I’m just mentioning the overall impression.

  145. Lime Says:

    I’m proposing that Nimrod is quite right to describe the independent (meaning for profit) media organisations outside of the PRC as vultures; they thrive on telling stories in such a way that the emotion is ramped up to capture the attention of readers, but I don’t think there is any reason to think this has anything to do with ‘putting down China’. Had this been the story of two American girls in an American Olympics, the same provocative “Litte girl ‘too ugly’ to take part” type headlines would have been run. The organisers and Chen Qigang (or rather his hypothetical American equivalent in my scenario) would have issued statements in their own defensive, and would publicly accuse the various newspapers of lying when they misquoted Chen. If they managed to prove that one or more newspapers had told an out and out lie, at least some people would be outraged, as Daniel suggested.

  146. S.K. Cheung Says:

    I agree with Lime. My opinion has always been that the media aren’t in some international conspiracy to undermine China. They want to sell papers and attract eyeballs, and are merely doing stories and presenting POV that they think will most readily attain those goals, within some journalistic boundaries. Having said that, I don’t think they’re vultures. To me, they’re more like beach-combers, looking for stories lying around. I think they report on the good and the bad.
    I’d be interested in Nimrod’s take on media within China. Robots, or automatons, perhaps?

  147. spring2007 Says:

    “chubby face and crooked baby teeth” was inserted in Wikipedia. Anyone familiar with the editing procedure of Wikipedia? Something should be done to clear the girls’ reputation.


  148. B Says:

    Yes, and we should give Milli Vanilli their Grammy back!!!


  149. spring2007 Says:

    The narrative “chubby face and crooked baby teeth” was removed from the Wikipedia page.

  150. admin Says:


    Thanks for following up on this. It appeared that user Akinkhoo removed it ( http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=2008_Summer_Olympics&diff=232920508&oldid=232910797 ) after user Lang203 pointed out the problem ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:2008_Summer_Olympics ):

    “All the reports about the lip sync incident were directly or indirectly based on the interview with the music directory Chen Qigang. However, something was ADDED in translation by reporters to sensationalize the issue. In the interview, Chen did not say “chubby face and crooked baby teeth” or anything bad about Yang Peiyi. The links to the video of Chen’s interview, the English transcript, the scan of the official program guide of the opening ceremony (which listed the names of both girls) and a summary of the issue can be found at:
    http://blog.foolsmountain.com/2008/08/12/an-imperfect-perfection/ .”

  151. Charles Says:

    Hi I’m new here, but yeah, that “crooked baby teeth” part is still on wikipedia. Someone change it please?

  152. Spelunker Says:

    No need to change it, as you can see from this article in China’s own “Legal Daily”



  153. DJ Says:


    I take this as more likely a case of the western media generated meme polluting into Chinese readership.

  154. downunder Says:

    Revealed: Sydney Olympics faked it too

    interesting how they reveal it now, 8 years after the Sydney Olympics and 2 days after BJ Olympics finished with all the animated indignation of the “Western media” ..

    oh well what more can I say…


    “the Sydney Symphony’s confirmation that it mimed its entire performance at the opening ceremony of the 2000 Sydney Olympics comes as something of a shock. Even worse, it admits the backing tape was recorded, in part, by its southern rival, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

    “It [the performance] was all pre-recorded and the MSO did record a minority of the music that was performed,” the Sydney Symphony’s managing director, Libby Christie, said yesterday. “It’s correct that we were basically miming to a pre-recording.”

  155. Spelunker Says:

    Western media meme polluting Chinese readership? I wonder if that’s the same lame excuse the Chinese government is using to explain why He Kin was reported last year in Chinese media as being 13 years old.
    We certainly don’t want the Chinese to lose face on this one; let’s blame the foreign devils instead!
    I’ll give you this much; some western media exaggerated Yang Peiyi’s dental condition. I strongly dislike the word “buck teeth” as well (Chen said “developing teeth” 正在换牙期 in a second interview), but you can’t deny that Yang Peiyi was denied because of her looks. There you go, I said it without mentioning her teeth. She wasn’t allowed to sing on stage because Lin Miaoke was deemed better suited for the national interest. That’s a fact that leads you to wonder what Yang Peiyi really looks like. When western media see Yang’s smiling photo, they naturally draw their own conclusions and report the obvious assumption.

  156. spring2007 Says:


    Could you give a link to Chen’s second interview? Most reports were clearly based on his interview at the Beijing radio station. Thank God the video exists so we can see how his words were twisted.

    There are certain details we do not know and maybe will never know. We know Yang is a lovely and pretty girl. But is Yang a little shy? Can she keep her cool in front of big audience? We know that Lin was older than Yang and had performing experience. Chen said Lin had good internal feeling and expression. So it was not just about appearance. It was more than looks.

  157. spring2007 Says:


    OK. I read the Legal Daily article you linked. I did not find anything about a second interview in it. The author was a law professor. It was unlikely he interviewed Chen directly. Most likely he picked up the story on Internet as we did. Maybe he knew fewer details than us. He tried to use the story to promote openness. But I would say Chen Qigang was already quite open on this compared to the Sydney Olympics organizers. And we all see what the consequences are.

    Again, casting is a professional job. Not everyone with good looks can perform.

  158. Dana Says:

    Thanks, I’m going to make a youtube vid compiling all the lies that media told during the Olympics. They were so, ridiculously bad at professional journalism that it kills me.

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