Youngsters representing the 56 Chinese ethnic groups were fake too?

fakechildren.jpgThe fireworks were edited in, the young girl was just lip-syncing, and in the third case of misrepresentation from the Olympic opening ceremony, the 56 children representing China's 56 ethnic groups have also been found to be mostly Han Chinese children dressed up to represent the minorities. This admission was first made by Yuan Zhifeng, deputy director of Galaxy Children's Art Troupe, which oversaw that segment of the programme, to the Asian Wall Street Journal.

The multimedia fireworks we can accept, and as for the lip-syncing, even the best of singers are guilty of it from time to time, but fake children from ethnic minorities to portray a vision of a harmonious utopia to an international audience at an event like the Olympics? That's just kinda lame.

Equally unimpressive was the feeble attempt by Wang Wei, executive vice-president of BOCOG, to downplay the fakery:

"Some performers were dressed in ethnic costumes, which are very normal in mainland performances. There is nothing special..."

"I don't know the concrete details and where the children are from. China has such a tradition in art performance [where] you can wear costumes of minority groups.

"As long as there is a need, performers will wear the costumes to signify people's friendship and happiness."

Seriously, creative director Zhang Yimou should have realised that even if this was standard practice across China and acceptable to local audiences who don't typically question what they see, we aren't doing a movie production here.

Related links:
The Opposite End of China: Crackdown on fake female minority terrorists
AFP: 'Ethnic minority' children at Olympics ceremony were fake: report

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Comments (16) [rss]

@ Kenneth,
Is having Han kids in "minority face" kinda lame like you feigning pride in your love of China so long as life is good for you there?

kind of like Hollywood casting Chinese to represent Japanese in WWII movies and White folks with painted faces to play "Injuns" and gas, Gays to play straight people too. get real people, its a fracking show. Men play women in traditional Shakepearean plays and Beijing Operas, bih f-ing deal. The only people who are really concerned are those who have a hard on fro finding fault with the show or China. Well there are plenty to find as it is, why not address the more relevant ones? Yes, China should have made a better effort at getting real minorities for such a worldwide show, but they didnt, and Zhang YiMo didn't realise all these issues or were probably told they would not be a problem. Reality bites eh?

Here you go again! Intellegent media for intelligent readers who are still not getting saturated with the most “newsworthy and not nitpicking” stories.
As a less intelligent one, how can I accept Father Christmas I saw in Broadway were not real and Roosevolt in “Pearl Harbor” was a fake? Of course 56 nationalities cannot be presented by a children art troupe since it is NOT a dramatic presentation, right? I would feel real cheated if I didn't find the real Athena on the stage when she was supposed to be there.
I guess that next scandal will be China of faking 3,000 ancent soldiers on the show and that, to please the west media and make you applause, China might have an emergency faked Daliar shown on the closing ceremony. I also hope at the London Olympics a real Wales speaking child will represented Wales while British will replace the ethnically German Queen with an original Viking.
Meanhwile I am so sad for you that all three so-called Olympic “fake scandals” are just revealled by Chinese themselves, a simply truth you just feel uneasy to mention.

welcome to the 21st century... it's a chinese century and the motto is "fake it till you make it".

As china's century, we can all look forward to being poisoned and raped.


The hired Chinese trolls all over Kenneth, brought to you by Your Friendly Propaganda Department under the Politbureau of the CPC.

They may have a point, though: I think this performance indeed has to be looked at as a big Hollywood musical (or rather a Muppet Show), brought to you by Your Friendly State Administration of Radio, Film and Television under the State Council of the PRC.

Just like the old-time Hollywood musicals, it ain't real, just a show, entertainment for the masses, for the digits (as Lee Kuan Yew describes them accurately), some of whom are posting here.

And, taken at face-value, it still was a great show.

to nanheyangrouchuan,

As a bald should try hard not to mention the word "hair", when can you manage NOT to repeat the word "rape", while you sure cannot make it with your lovely three peanuts? lol!

Worst Olympics since Moscow.

At the least, you have to wonder why, when a programme costs so much money and takes so much time to put together, the organisers couldn't do something so simple. If minorities are so happy in China, there should have been loads of minority families eager to send their little ones to Beijing. Of course, it would be even simpler to just use a dance troupe. But using a Han dance troupe to represent minority harmony in China is kind of in poor taste.

Many people are claiming the opening ceremony was an attempt to symbolise China. What does it say if the happy minorities are fake?

The trolls are right about one thing. Hollywood does this stuff all the time. But Hollywood never marketed Zhang Ziyi in the geisha movie as the quintessence of a Japanese geisha. They just told everyone it was a good movie. The organisers of the ceremony, by trying to sell the most polished version of something, are thus in a trap of their own making as observers seek out flaws.