At the risk of being seen as running an excessive self and cross promotional campaign, I highly recommend all interested readers to check out ESWN’s take on some of the irresponsible media reports in this case, particularly the collection of quotes from various medias, and the latest comment on the “uneven teeth” meme such reports created. Roland is very gracious in claiming only to frame this very post, but I think his “re-framing” does a very effective job in making the point.
I should also point out some subtle but extremely damaging distortions introduced and propagated by the media reports that earned my ire. As reflected by a Chinese blogger on his second posting on this matter after listening to the entire interview of Chen (H/T to ESWN again):
The words of Chen Qigang are used by the media out of context and are distorted. First, Chen did not say that Yang Peiyi was considered not good in appearance. He merely pointed out that Lin Miaoke was considered to have the best image. Second, when Chen talked about national interest, he was claiming that the national interest was served by combining the best stage presence with the best singing voice [to present the best perceived performance]. He did not mean that it was a matter of “national interest” to hide Yang Peiyi from the camera.
Maybe I am biased because my daughter and Yang Peiyi look alike. My perception was confirmed last night when my wife, glancing at the image of Peiyi on my screen for the first time, blurted out: “she looks like our 宝宝 precious.” Anyway, I have always thought Yang Peiyi as a very adorable girl for any parents to be proud of. The following facts should show that the directors never considered her unattractive and were always realistically prepared to have her on the stage in the ceremony.
- Yang Peiyi was listed in the credit of singing performers in the official ceremony program guide and was actually ahead of Lin Miaoke. (See the update at the end of my previous post.)
- Operationally, the choice of the singer was communicated only 15 minutes before the performance.
It is perhaps charitable to dismiss some of those “journalists” as merely incompetent. A reporter is supposed to actually check the source material before writing, right? Well I did. I viewed the video of the interview carefully and confirmed the transcript before writing anything. And I am not a reporter; blogging is not my day job.
As for a less charitable description of those “journalists”, I want to repeat the words in my comment #85, that they demonstrated a lack of humanity while being completely indifferent to the fate of these two young girls.
The start of the original post follows below:
When I wrote the earlier post “an imperfect perfection,” my disappointment was focused on the bureaucrats and more importantly, the mentality behind the decision to pursue superficial perfection while being blind to what it would mean for the two sweet and talented girls. I worried how these two young ladies would weather the inevitable ordeals coming towards them now that the news came out. The following is my comment in the discussion thread:
My first reaction was how cruel it was to both girls. I am not so sure if Yang Peiyi realizes that she was deemed not adorable enough and that her chance to shine was denied. But she surely will some day, won’t she? And for Lin Miaoke, what would be her reaction to learn that it wasn’t her voice? Would she be labeled as someone undeserving the honor? My heart aches for both.
Isn’t it ironic that these worries are ever more likely to become true already, aided by the ones pretending to care? Isn’t it also not particularly surprising?
This is what Voice of America has to say, in its Chinese language report:
Chen Qigang said the 9-year old girl Lin Miaoke was a stand-in on stage because the 7-year old real singer Yang Peiyi had a very fat face and crooked teeth, so her appearance was considered not good enough.
Excuse me! When and where did Chen Qigang say these hurtful words? For anyone having any doubt about this, please check out the video of Chen Qigang’s interview. The China News Digest provided a quite faithful transcript, which was translated in my previous post. Chen simply never described Yang in the way reported by VoA.
So, were those words planted by you, Voice of America, in the language directly able to torture the mind of this young girl and her family? And don’t you give me the “isn’t that essentially what he said” BS. There is a difference between “you are very cute but someone else is a bit more photogenic” and “you are ugly and we can not show your face”. Are you aspiring to be known as the journalist match of UK’s Metro, which had the gall to print a story titled “Ceremony sham – Little girl ‘too ugly’ to take part in Olympic showpiece“?
Lest anyone would think VOA wasn’t callous in its made-up description, the following is another photo I found of Yang Peiyi online.
As for other girl Lin Miaoke, just check out what the titles say in some of the news reports:
- Olympic child singing star revealed as fake from the AFP
- Olympics: Child singer revealed as fake from the Guardian
- Not only were the Olympic Fireworks fake, so was the 7 year old singer from The Inquisitr, Australia
Did any reporter bother to check out what Chen Qigang actually said? Lin Miaoke had no idea that the sound was being substituted and went onto the stage to perform in front an audience of billions flawlessly. Her composure under the pressure was something most grown-up could only dream of. She is the real deal!