August 12th, 2008
12:16 PM ET

Beijing Olympics: Faked Fireworks and synced songs

David M. Reisner
AC360° Digital Producer

I dont know if you caught the opening ceremonies of the Olympics on Friday but they were spectacular! Maybe a bit too much.

According to several reports the 'Twenty-nine fiery footsteps' traced in the air above Bird's Nest National Stadium were created using real fireworks... But The U.K.'s Telegraph reports that because event organizers feared they would be unable to capture the pyrotechnics live on camera, a digital effects team spent almost a year preparing a computerized version of the 55-second footstep sequence, which was inserted into the live video feed. So in truth, what people saw in the stadium and what people saw on T.V. didnt quite match up... (Read more here – see image of the footprint firework)

OK fine, I love my computer grahpics, I guess I can look past that... but another part of the opening ceremony left me speechless... (pun intended)

A little girl sang a beautiful Chinese patriotic song as fireworks lit the sky above her... Except she didnt sing it live... Actually, she did'nt even sing it at all! Read this report from Richard Spencer of 'The Daily Telegraph:'


Lin Miaoke who lip-synched at the opening ceremony over the voice of Yang Peiyi [right] who was considered unsuited to the lead role because of her teeth.

Richard Spencer
The Daily Telegraph
China Correspondent

The girl in the red dress with the pigtails, called Lin Miaoke, 9, and from a Beijing primary school, has become a national sensation since Friday night, giving interviews to all the most popular newspapers.

But the show's musical designer felt forced to set the record straight. He gave an interview to Beijing radio saying the real singer was a seven-year-old girl who had won a gruelling competition to perform the anthem, a patriotic song called "Hymn to the Motherland".

At the last moment a member of the Chinese politburo who was watching a rehearsal pronounced that the winner, a girl called Yang Peiyi, might have a perfect voice but was unsuited to the lead role because of her buck teeth.

So, on the night, while a pre-recording of Yang Peiyi singing was played, Lin Miaoke, who has already featured in television advertisements, was seen but not heard.

"This was a last-minute question, a choice we had to make," the ceremony's musical designer, Chen Qigang, said.


Filed under: Olympics
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. Sharon

    Both girl are beautiful but I prefer Yang because she looks like a child and not a premature adult. It is sad when Image and not ability is practiced even on the youths. No wonder many of our children are so messed up before they reach adulthood. We are teaching them the wrong principles. Sad, so sad!

    August 12, 2008 at 9:50 pm |
  2. Annie Kate

    I feel sorry for the little girl who actually sang – how I wonder did it make her feel that she was good enough to sing but not "pretty enough" to be seen. That is an awful thing to tell to a young child. Both girls are very pretty – I would have thought more of China if they had stayed with the girl who really sang.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    August 12, 2008 at 9:08 pm |
  3. CaseyJ - Palm Springs, CA

    Disgusting. Childish. Arrogant. Insincere. Thoughtless. Ignorant. Immoral–treating one child like she's second class and teaching the other that looks are enough to fix everything in life.

    August 12, 2008 at 8:50 pm |
  4. Sally

    Those people who are saying how outrageous the Chinese government should go visit it sometimes, you know, like eating roadkill.
    And trust me, they won't lock you up in Guatanamo just because you are American, stop living in the last century. They are improving, as much as they can, give some credit when it is due.
    As for not supporting, no matter, plenty of people around the world are supporting, majority rules.

    August 12, 2008 at 7:36 pm |
  5. Jo Ann

    Can anyone really believe anything they see on TV anymore? Everything seems to be a fake or enhanced beyond belief.

    In regards to the Chinese "Milli Vanilli," are they any worse than anyone else who prefers beauty over talent or intelligence?

    We are continually inundated with beauty; it is used to sell us products and to get us to watch certain shows and movies. We even get it on cable news, which seems to be populated more and more with scantily clad, overly made up women who can barely read and the men are becoming just as bad.

    Even if an attractive person has talent or intelligence, it is never what people really focus on.

    As an artist and a student of fashion, I am trained to appreciate and seek out beauty, but I would never choose it over intelligence or talent given the opportunity.

    It is a terrible message to send to children and society in general.

    IMO, these two girls are both beautiful, but of course beauty is only in the eye of the beholder and sometimes you have to look a little deeper to find it.

    Jo Ann
    North Royalton, Ohio

    August 12, 2008 at 7:28 pm |
  6. Ronda Girardi

    You know what I worry about now? What will happen to the director? The mother? The daughter? Females are especially oppressed and not valued in China. Once the OIympics is over, who will follow up to make sure these people are safe? I too made the decision to not view the olympics and I have boycotted as many Chinese products as I can. I cannot support a country who oppresses others, persecutes Christians and smothers their people with such control that the people do not dare to violate the laws while people who can help are in their country. How sad to see the police right outside your door who can save you from the the murderer in your house, yet can say nothing? How sad indeed!

    August 12, 2008 at 7:07 pm |
  7. Tammy, Berwick, LA

    So much for teaching girls that inner beauty and talent matter more than the visible image... Then again does anyone not cute get a Disney contract? If Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers weren't good looking, would anyone even know who they are today? If Annette wasn't so cute and perky would anyone have cared? Come on. We're just as guilty. The whole system is screwed up, and not just in China. We shouldn't throw stones until we change our values here first and what we teach our own kids about what matters in entertainment.

    It was still an amazing show, lip synching and fake fireworks notwithstanding. China still gets overall wows for this one as far as I'm concerned.

    August 12, 2008 at 6:52 pm |
  8. Michael Tung

    You all are really missing the point. China, the Communist state that it is, is a society that highly values cooperation for the greater good of the country. Which in this case, is presenting China in the best possible light to the world. They combined here a girl with the cutest look and a girl with the best voice to get the best of both worlds. if you read the radio interview you'll see that the girl whose voice was played was actually quite grateful and proud that it was her voice that was heard by the world. Would you similarly say that the girl who was on stage was offended because she was told, "you're voice is not good enough". Come on, both young stars will have a bright future ahead.

    August 12, 2008 at 6:41 pm |
  9. simon

    I am disgraced at my own country. A superpower coutry that is ruled by corrupted old men and does not care for it's own people, only caring for greed. "A country is not about the government it's about the people." I am ashamed to be chinese.

    August 12, 2008 at 5:47 pm |
  10. Jacie - San Leandro, Ca

    This is so shocking why in the world would this be allowed to go on. I want to know what other scandals are lurking behind the scenes?
    Not to change the subject but I was wondering why the Chinese girls on the gymnatics team looks under age? Isn't the age limit 16? compared to USA girls and Romain girls and other they look like thier 12 and under. Why can't their be changes in the rules for certain weight and age class for this sport it seems like these girls look malnurished.

    August 12, 2008 at 5:41 pm |
  11. Victor in Saanich, B.C. Canada

    No surprise but sad anyways!! Up here we had a political minister who had his own children make a presentation to royalty!! It happens when politicos get involved!!

    August 12, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  12. Mike in NYC

    I don't think this is the first time that lack of looks has damaged the prospects of a talented artist.

    August 12, 2008 at 4:52 pm |
  13. Heather

    Well it goes along with being fake about honoring the
    Olympic charter.Denying our athletes the right to attend the games because they express themselves freely in the Democratic country we live in.They are completely fake! It's any outrage! They either don't realize what the olympics are really about or they don't care.I think they don't care.They think they can impress the world and be seen in a good light never mind your privacy your basic human need to speak freely. Just mind your own business and spend money.

    August 12, 2008 at 4:11 pm |
  14. Sam Johnson

    Knowing China's desire for perfection and it's obvious need for the world to see them that way, I wonder what they will now do to the musical designer for coming clean. Especially after reading how most of us feel about it. I wonder if he'll disappear...

    August 12, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  15. Torrance, CA

    What is sad is have anyone 'looked' at any of the Chinese Officials shown at the Games – talk about butt ugly!

    Both girls are wonderful representatives to and for their country, but I guess, as sad as it may be, looks are more important to the Chinese Government than ability when it comes to singing a beautiful medaley.

    Hey, if looks are that important, maybe our President, VP and Congressional representatives who cannot seem to 'carry' a note of what's important to the American public should also not be seen.....because what's heard isn't that much better *RLMAO*

    August 12, 2008 at 4:00 pm |
  16. JC- Los Angeles

    I find both of the young Chinese girls to be extremely talented and beautiful; one can sing flawlessly and is beautiful while the other is beautiful and poised.

    It's the height of hypocrisy to throw stones at China for their efforts to be portrayed in the most beautiful light.

    All one has to do is tune in to any newscast in America and you will see nothing but attractive newscasters and sportscasters.

    I find it hard to believe that all the hotties on our airwaves were selected based upon their newscasting abilities and true qualifications.

    August 12, 2008 at 3:59 pm |
  17. Larry

    Do they have free dental & medical care in China?

    August 12, 2008 at 3:32 pm |
  18. Caren in Los Angeles/soon-to-be Boston

    Poor little thing 😦 Yeah, that's real healthy for her I'm sure, to know her face got rejected from the Olympics, yet her voice was good enough. Even better that this information was shared with the entire world. Unbelieveable.

    August 12, 2008 at 3:20 pm |
  19. Roweena D'Souza, Seattle

    This story really stinks, the extent a nation would go to falsify an image (not that they have a great one either) So just one member decided the girl was not beautiful enough?, by the way Yang Peiyi is adorable, buck teeth included.

    August 12, 2008 at 3:14 pm |
  20. Trish

    In my opinion both little girls are beautiful and Yang Peiyi sang wonderfully. It is too bad that she was deemed "not cute enough" to be the face behind the voice and worry what that may do to her self esteem. There is no wonder why so many females today have poor self images, always trying to live up to impossible standards. To me this is just another example of looks being the all important factor and the actual talent is a secondary consideration at best. At least we are hearing about this and Yang Peiyi is being acknowledged for her beautiful voice.

    August 12, 2008 at 3:02 pm |
  21. Michelle, Spring Valley, CA

    This is very much like finding out the freecreditreportdotcom guy is not really singing in the commercials. Even knowing he's not really singing, he still looks good and it's effective.

    August 12, 2008 at 2:22 pm |
  22. Dave

    Who cares what the girl lookes like if that is her great voice then let the little girl sing. I think that is so disrespectfull to do something like that to a little girl.

    August 12, 2008 at 2:20 pm |
  23. Hadiya

    China needed to know that when its entering the real world it doesn't have to seem perfect to the point of letting youngsters sacrifice their future (being the olympics is a once in a lifetime opportunity), for the sake of their outer appreance, it all ends with presenting itself to the world despite its imperfections. Its is a really really unprofessional and an unethical thing to do when you tell a 7 year old who probably dreams about being in such an event representing her country, that she can't do so because how she looks.

    When it comes to fake fireworks its an 'oh well, at least it looked good', but when it comes to erasing confidence and talents of children for the sake of looks, its absolutely unexcusable.

    well so much for showing the world China and all its 'diverse' people.....

    August 12, 2008 at 2:18 pm |
  24. Mike

    I don't believe it was faked, and the reason is very simple: Chinese don't have to fake it. With 100-300 millions spent on the ceremony, why would anyone want to fake a simple shot?! Besides, this is quoted from an unknown website, which claims to quote a local news paper.. got any clue?? I think the only thing fake here is this post.

    August 12, 2008 at 2:14 pm |
  25. Gladys

    I really don't think this is that big of a deal. The Chinese are just trying to present themselves in the best light possible to make the best impression possible.

    As for the little girl who didn't get to sing: don't take it personally, it's just business.

    August 12, 2008 at 2:11 pm |
  26. deborah, OH

    As I have said previously, these games, held in this state-controlled country, are a joke. Wonder what else is not what it seems?

    The athletes, however, are wonderful, & doing very well! We should all be proud of them!

    August 12, 2008 at 2:09 pm |
  27. JT

    Does not matter, overall it was awesome show!!!!

    August 12, 2008 at 2:07 pm |
  28. Chicago

    If you want to look at something do some research on the age of the Chinese Female gymnastics team....

    Holy cow... there is no way a couple of them are 16 years old... if they are I'd be shocked.

    August 12, 2008 at 2:05 pm |
  29. Michelle Fonthill Ont,Canada

    Both girls are adorable why do hey always find something about someone looks to pick on?It's not her fault and besides it soesn't matter her voice is what poeple are going to hear .I guess they thought the sound would effect that whatever it's stupid. Just let them sing .The girl who went through all the gruelling practices and auditions should have been the one in the spotlight.

    Michelle D.

    August 12, 2008 at 1:57 pm |
  30. Melissa, Los Angeles

    I didn't mind that they used computers to enhance the firework display but to find out a girl with the beautiful voice was replaced by someone else because she was considered not cute enough because of her buck teeth is very disheartening. I knew the song was lip synched but I had no idea it wasn't Lin's voice but Yang's. I'm glad they fessed up to it but this goes to show how image oriented of a society we are – especially now in America where no talents are given recording contracts because of their looks and real musicans aren't given the opportunities because they don't have "the look". Would Tom Petty, Clapton, etc. ever been given a recording contract based on their looks? I think not.

    August 12, 2008 at 1:44 pm |
  31. Pat

    What cruelty to bestow upon a beautiful young child! I pray this man's thoughtless deed to satisfy his need for perfection will not leave this poor young child with an inferiority complex throughout her life. This poor young girl after winning the gruelling competition had her remarkable talent shoved aside. What a poor example to set for young children. My heart aches for that poor young girl.

    Both my husband and I were in awe while watching the opening of the game. We commented several times about the superior genius of the Man who organized every detail of every performance for that night. Now after reading this report his superior talents and genius have been somewhat dimished by the cruelty of Chen Qigang. A man who gave perfection priority over breaking the heart of innocent little girl and giving her hard earned achievement and recognition to someone undeserving of both! Appalling. Yang Peiyi your are a beautiful Shining Star and do not let this act of cruelty by one man give you even one minute of sadness. I can see you on stage singing in the very near future and I'll watching for you. Your voice is amazing.

    August 12, 2008 at 1:35 pm |
  32. Larry

    Well, Freddy Mercury's teeth were not the straightest (no pun intended) but the guy had a 4-octave range that may have been affected had he gone for some dental work. Curiously, Roger Taylor, Queen's drummer, went to dental school.

    August 12, 2008 at 1:32 pm |
  33. Kristen- Philadelphia, PA

    What did they tell Yang Peiyi: I'm sorry but you are not pretty enough? I think this image of China is a lot worse than would have been portrayed if Yang had sung the song herself. I highly doubt the world would be criticizing this 9 year olds teeth or thinks something negative of China because they were crooked.

    August 12, 2008 at 1:29 pm |
  34. Gary Chandler in Canada

    For the first time in my life, I am not watching the Olympics. The last straw was the documentary I saw on the punishing and torturous child abuse the Chinese put their young through, in the name of training.
    The IOC is should monitor this more than steroid use!
    If only the parents would realise all the money and time they spend pushing their children towards 'their' dream would have just as good chance spent on lotteries.
    Child abuse should be considered cheating, worse than steroids.

    August 12, 2008 at 1:26 pm |
  35. Jolene

    David: Sounds like another Milli Vanilli case. I know, I'm aging myself! I don't know what I'm more upset about, that it wasn't her real voice or that they didn't pick the real singer because she didn't "look" the part. How devastating for that little girl. I wonder if they would have done the same thing if it was a little boy? Hmmm.

    Jolene, St. Joseph, MI

    August 12, 2008 at 1:10 pm |
  36. Mistress D

    more reasons why I refuse to watch the Olympics cause China is hosting. This news does not surprise me one bit.

    August 12, 2008 at 12:58 pm |
  37. Cindy

    Well it seems Beijing really wanted the Olympics to start out with no snags at all! I guess they thought it all had to be perfect.

    A lot of the "big" stars have been caught lip-synching and even admit to doing it so that is no big deal. The real problem is that they wouldn't let Yang sing her own song just because they thought her looks wasn't up to par. That is ridiculous and sets an extremely bad example to all of the kids. That no matter how great of a talent or how smart you are that doesn't count if you don't have the acceptable look. But we are talking about China, who treats people like crap so...


    August 12, 2008 at 12:45 pm |