13 Aug 2008

China put another face to Games singer

3:39 pm on 13 August 2008

A pretty girl who shot to fame at China's Olympic opening ceremony was a photogenic front for the real singer who was reportedly rejected because of her appearance, which was deemed not in the "national interest".

Nine-year-old Lin Miaoke has been celebrated across China as the angelic voice with the cute face who sang Ode to the Motherland at Friday's opening extravaganza.

But a director of the opening ceremony, Chen Qigang, told state television that Lin's voice was overdubbed by the singing of the real child singer Yang Peiyi, according to the government-run China News Service. "Yang Peiyi missed out on selection [to appear at the ceremony] because of her external appearance. It was for the national interest."

China has gone to extraordinary lengths and expense to ensure a picture-perfect Games.

An official disclosed on Wednesday that some of the scenes of fireworks broadcast at the opening were pre-recorded.

Among sections pre-recorded were parts of a stunning series of firework "footprints" across Beijing that led to the Bird's Nest stadium where the four-hour spectacular was staged, Games executive vice-president Wang Wei told reporters.

But getting one child to appear as the face of another was a step too far, some Chinese said in comments posted on the internet. "Why worry so much about appearances? All seven-year-olds are angels," said one.