Posted by: Frederik Balfour on August 15, 2008
Here’s an update on the lip-synching controversy surrounding the Olympic opening ceremony, suggesting that it’s not just we foreign media who are stirring things up. Here’s some interesting evidence that it has sparked a lively debate within China, and if you click here, you can follow the online survey asking readers who is their favorite Olympic Lady. Even if you don’t read Chinese, the results from this Sina.com poll are pretty easy to read. The row gives results for Yang Peiyi, the girl whose voice was actually broadcast during the ceremony. The second row shows votes for Lin Miaoke, the 9-year-old who won the hearts of millions—at least before they found out she was lip-synching Yang’s voice. As I write this blog [the survey is live, so by the time you click for yourselves, the figures will have changed] of the nearly 20,000 respondents, more than 13,000 representing more than 70% of the sample voted for Yang. Lin trailed with only 24%. Looks like the Chinese realize that inner beauty accounts for more. As far as I know, the Chinese media has yet to give any coverage to the admission by ceremony organizers that Lin’s voice was faked.
Meanwhile, here’s an interesting blog I came across a couple of days ago. It describes how Beijing is hiring “cheerleaders” to fill empty seats at many of the less popular events, which is frustrating news for people who were unable to buy tickets for themselves. My colleague Bruce Einhorn tells me that a lot of those seats were actually paid for by corporate sponsors. Problem is, because many of their would-be guests from hedge funds, customers and clients are constrained by the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act from accepting the freebie tickets —-although I don’t see why they don’t just reimburse the likes of Coke, McDonalds and Visa for the tickets. That’s the policy we follow here at BusinessWeek. Still, it does throw into question the return that these corporate sponsors are getting for the tens of millions they spent on the Olympics. For more on this please see the story I wrote with Reena Jana.