Nicola Boden and David Williams
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
China picked a ‘cute’ nine-year-old girl to mime at its Olympic opening ceremony after deciding a seven-year-old with a ‘flawless’ voice was not pretty enough to perform.
Lin Miaoke, in her angelic red dress and pigtails, captivated the world last Friday as she ‘sang’ the national anthem during its £20million opening for the Games.
But it has now been revealed the voice heard by billions both in Beijing and around the globe was in fact seven-year-old Yang Peiyi, who was banned for her crooked teeth.
In yet another example of fakery at the Games, China pre-recorded Yang singing Paean to the Motherland but chose her rival to lip-synch before the public.
The extraordinary last-minute decision to splice pictures and sound was taken just before the show by a top member of the Chinese Communist Party politburo.
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Lin’s appearance in the ceremony has made her the hottest child star in China and her picture was even printed on the front page of the New York Times.
But the true story behind her performance has now been revealed by the general music designer of the ceremony, Chen Qigang, who wanted to set the record straight.
It lays bare China’s desperation to present a ‘perfect’ image to the world and deliver the best ever Olympics, shooing away migrant workers and protesters.
The country has already confessed footage of fireworks exploding across Beijing during the ceremony was digitally inserted into television coverage in case smog blurred some of the 29 blasts.
And today Olympic officials said they had been forced to draft-in ‘cheerleader squads’ to fill empty seats in stadiums despite the Games being billed as a sell out.
Ironically, attempts to control every aspect of the Games are far more damaging to China’s reputation than if events were allowed to unfold more naturally.
Of the decision to deny Yang Peiyi her chance to perform in front of billions, Mr Qigang said: ‘The first condition was that the director wants the image to be very cute.’
A 10-year-old girl who was a good singer was initially selected and used for all the rehearsals but it was eventually decided she was too old.
Organisers wanted a younger child and picked Yang Peiyi for her ‘flawless’ voice but were told at the last minute that Lin Miaoke would be the one to appear on stage.
Mr Qigang told Beijing People’s Broadcasting Station: ‘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 is flawless, in each member of our team’s view.’
He added: ‘This was a last-minute decision, we had to do it. We had been through several inspections, they were all very strict.
‘When we rehearsed at the spot, there were spectators from various divisions, especially leaders from the the Politburo who gave the opinion: It must change.
‘This is to say, we had no choice… We have a responsibility to face the audience of the whole country, to give this explanation.
‘Everyone should understand this in this way: this is in the national interest. It is the image of our national music, national culture. Especially the entrance of our national flag, this is an extremely important, extremely serious matter.
‘Then we made such a choice. I think it is fair to both Lin Miaoke and Yang Peiyi. That is to say, we have a perfect voice (in our team’s view), and a perfect image and representation, two combined together.’
This article was posted: Tuesday, August 12, 2008 at 10:01 am