There is nearly unanimous agreement that China’s opening ceremony for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games was a masterpiece. However, as we’ve learned over the past few days, all is not what it seems.
Stories hit the media earlier this week that part of the fireworks display was faked – a computer-generated animation prepared months ago and fed out by Beijing Olympic Broadcasting, the entity that controls and provides the primary video feeds of all Olympics events to other broadcasters.
Now, today, it has come to light that the precious little girl who sang "Ode to the Motherland" during the opening ceremony was, in fact, lip-synching to another child’s voice.
The musical director for the event, Chen Qigang, admitted that, "After several tests, we decided to put Lin Miaoke on the live picture, while using Yang Peiyi’s voice. The reason for this is that we must put our country’s interest first. The girl appearing on the picture must be flawless in terms of her facial expression and the great feeling she can give to people."
The New York Times reported, "Under pressure from the highest levels of the ruling Communist Party to find the perfect face and voice, the ceremony’s production team concluded the only solution was to use two girls instead of one. Miaoke, a third grader, was judged cute and appealing but "not suitable" as a singer. Another girl, Yang Peiyi, 7, was judged the best singer but not as cute. So when Miaoke opened her mouth to sing, the voice that was actually heard was a recording of Peiyi."
My heart crumbles for little Peiyi who lost her opportunity to sing, in person, for a billion people because the country that devalues girls so much deemed her as not cute enough.
Near the end of the opening ceremony, we saw thousands of pictures of little children held up by the performers. The images were also repeated on the fringe screens that wrap the whole stadium – a plethora of bright, smiling children.
Too bad that China’s one child policy, the desire for perfection, the devaluation of the female child, and the preference for a "lucky" male heir, means that thousands (by some estimates, millions) of children – mainly little girls like Miaoke and Peiyi – are presently languishing in Chinese orphanages.
Look past the façade, folks. I’m a father with a Chinese daughter. I used to work with and in Chinese orphanages. I’ve seen the reality of bleak holding cells filled with the children that the Chinese government now wants you to believe are cherished and valued.
The dying rooms still exist. Abandonment occurs in record numbers as precious little infants and pig-tailed girls are discarded, victims of a system that places very little value on human life.