(AFP) – Aug 12, 2008
BEIJING (AFP) — The little girl who starred at the Olympic opening ceremony was miming and only put on stage because the real singer was not considered attractive enough, the show's musical director has revealed.
Pigtailed Lin Miaoke was selected to appear because of her cute appearance and did not sing a note, Chen Qigang, the general music designer of the ceremony, said in an interview with a state broadcaster aired Tuesday.
Photographs of Lin in a bright red party dress were published in newspapers and websites all over the world and the official China Daily hailed her as a rising star on Tuesday.
But Chen said the girl whose voice was actually heard by the 91,000 capacity crowd at the Olympic stadium during the spectacular ceremony was in fact seven-year-old Yang Peiyi, who has a chubby face and uneven teeth.
"The reason why little Yang was not chosen to appear was because we wanted to project the right image, we were thinking about what was best for the nation," Chen said in an interview that appeared briefly on the news website Sina.com before it was apparently wiped from the Internet in China.
Lin was seen to perform the patriotic song "Ode to the Motherland" as China's national flag was carried into the stadium, a key moment in the three hour ceremony.
"The reason was for the national interest. The child on camera should be flawless in image, internal feelings, and expression," said Chen, a renowned contemporary composer and French citizen.
"Lin Miaoke is excellent in those aspects. But in terms of voice, Yang Peiyi is perfect, each member of our team agreed," he said.
He said the final decision to stage the event with Lin lip-synching to another girl's voice was taken after a senior member of China's ruling Communist Party politburo attended a rehearsal.
"He told us there was a problem that we needed to fix it, so we did," he said, without disclosing further details of the order.
The Beijing Olympic organising committee confirmed the episode with spokesman Sun Weide saying the decision was taken in the interests of providing the best possible show.
"A number of girls were on the short list for the show and Lin was the best actress while Yang had the best voice," he said. "So at the end of the day they decided to have both."
The ceremony directed by China's Oscar-nominated filmmaker Zhang Yimou and featuring more than 15,000 performers won high praise in China and overseas for its breadth, scope and flawless execution.
However criticism began to build after it emerged that another part of the opening ceremony had been faked.
Supposedly live pictures of fireworks depicting footprints moving from central Beijing's Tiananmen Square to the Olympic stadium in the north of the capital were actually partly computer-generated or pre-recorded for TV, organisers have admitted.
Wang Wei, vice president of the organising committee, Tuesday insisted the fireworks had actually exploded on the night and that most of the television images used were genuine.
"However, because of the poor visibility of the night some previously recorded foots may have been used," he said.
Xiao Qiang, the director of the China Internet project at the University of California at Berkeley and former dissident, said the two incidents illustrated the political nature of the Games for China.
"I do not think the Chinese state realises how unethical this is, they don't understand what kind of values they are reflecting," he said.
Earlier this year Olympic organisers preoccupied with the right image for the country were criticised for insisting that only tall, slim, young and attractive women could serve as medal award ceremony hostesses.
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