Keeping it Real, Beijing Style


I guess I shouldn't be shocked to learn that the adorable little girl whose song melted hearts during the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics was lip synching — and that the girl who did do the singing was yanked from the show "for the national interest" at the last minute because she was considered not cute enough.

Nine-year-old Lin Miaoke was simply doing the old Milli Vanilli act and lip-syncing to the voice of 7-year-old Yang Peiyi (who is pretty darned cute, by the way).

“The reason was for the national interest,” said Chen Qigang, the ceremony’s musical director, in a state radio interview. “The child on camera should be flawless in image, internal feeling and expression.” The decision was made at the highest levels, Chen said.

“We had to do it,” he added. “We’d been through several inspections. They’re all very strict. When we rehearsed at the spot, there were several spectators from various divisions, especially leaders from the Politburo, who gave the opinion it must change.”

Few who watched the Olympic ceremony realized the deception. "Tiny Singer Wins Heart of Nation," read the headline in Tuesday's China Daily newspaper.


As a parent (and simply as a person with a heart) I feel sad for young Yang Peiyi, who must have been crushed to realize, at the eleventh hour and after what must have been many hours of rehearsal, that she would not appear in the opening ceremony.

But given the way China de-values women and girls in general, I can't say I'm shocked that only (perceived) "perfection" would do in this case. After all, this was a carefully orchestrated presentation for the world. The only happy ending here is that Chen Qigang and his buddies "at the highest levels" were found out in the most public way.

Well, at least we know that spectacular fireworks presentation that we all saw on TV was the real deal.

Oh, wait. I guess not.

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9 Responses to “Keeping it Real, Beijing Style”

  1. Mary Beth says:

    The star of the show strikes me as more “Western” looking than the actual singer and she also resembles many adopted Chinese girls in the U.S. now.

  2. Kathy Sena says:

    Mary Beth, you make a very good point, and I think you’re right.

  3. Kristen De Deyn Kirk says:

    This breaks my heart — but a magazine I worked for did the same sort of thing for a few years. Our cover person had to be very attractive. We weren’t a beauty publication or even a health publication but a NEWS magazine that also covered the arts. I was happy when a new editor came in and wanted all types of people on the cover.

  4. Kathy Sena says:

    Kristen, I work in the magazine business and I know what you’re talking about. It is sad, and I hate to see it. Glad to hear the new editor came in and had more of a NEWS approach to things.

  5. Shane says:

    “The child on camera should be flawless in image, internal feeling and expression.”
    Uh… why, exactly?

  6. Debra says:

    Congrats on being featured!
    I was very disappointed to hear about both young “beautiful” girls being used in this way. It was not neccessary….how sad to be made to think you are not cute enough and how said to think you are chosen as the special one to one day realize it was a big joke.

  7. Debra says:

    Congrats on being featured!
    I was very disappointed to hear about both young “beautiful” girls being used in this way. It was not neccessary….how sad to be made to think you are not cute enough and how said to think you are chosen as the special one and then to one day realize when you get older that it was a big joke.

  8. Kathy Sena says:

    Thanks for the comment, Debra. I agree. It’s sad.