Not content to slip under-aged girls onto their gymnastic team, Chinese officials also engaged in some sleight of hand in the Opening Ceremony. We’re not talking about the Clone Army that performed all the synchronized drumming, but the little girl who sang the cute song. It was lip-synched fakery:
One little girl had the looks. The other had the voice.
So in a last-minute move demanded by one of Chinaâ€™s highest officials, the two were put together for the Olympic opening ceremony, with one lip-synching “Ode to the Motherland” over the otherâ€™s singing.
The real singer, 7-year-old Yang Peiyi, with her chubby face and crooked baby teeth, wasnâ€™t good looking enough for the ceremony, its chief music director told state-owned Beijing Radio.
So the pigtailed Lin Miaoke, a veteran of television ads, mouthed the words with a pixie smile for a stadium of 91,000 and a worldwide TV audience. “I felt so beautiful in my red dress,” the tiny 9-year-old told the China Daily newspaper.
“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,” Chen Qigang, the event’s general music designer, explained to a Beijing radio station.
As if that wasn’t enough, the TV feed included CGI-enhanced fireworks:
Officials have already admitted that the pictures of giant firework footprints which marched across Beijing towards the stadium on Friday night were prerecorded, digitally enhanced and inserted into footage beamed across the world.
This is life in an authoritarian country, where the sky is whatever color the Central Committee says it is. But when that country is part of a world that doesn’t embrace its conformist values, these desperate attempts to make itself appear more perfect than it really is simply backfire.