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China’s mask of lies

Posted by Author on August 18, 2008

By Fiona McIntosh, The Mirror, UK, 17/08/2008-

Much as I’m enjoying the Olympics at the moment (well, it’s hardly barbecue weather) they’re leaving a bad taste in my mouth.

Take the story this week of little Lin Miaoke, who belted out the Chinese anthem in the opening ceremony. Except, it wasn’t her, it was another girl, Yang Peiyi, whose voice was dubbed in at the 11th hour.

Yang didn’t get the gig because her teeth, like most seven-year-olds’, are wonky.

Erupting incisors are not part of the great Chinese plan for perfection. Or, as one of the flunkeys explained, “the child on the camera should be flawless in image, internal feelings and expression”.

Binned for being too ugly – that’s a tough lesson to learn at seven. But looking around the Bird’s Nest stadium, creepy perfection is a common Chinese theme. Where are the cheering hordes of ordinary Chinese in the audience? Are they too ugly, too? In some events you can hear the distant roar of Free Tibet protesters, but like little Yang’s face, that issue is too ugly for the cameras.

China does appear to be moving towards democracy. It wasn’t so long ago that student activists were shot for their beliefs and baby girls were left to die in the gutter, victims of the One Child Policy.

But with all the smoke and mirrors around this Olympics, it doesn’t make us think how wonderful the New China is – just what else it is hiding.

– Original: The Mirror

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