Bloomberg Anywhere Remote Login Bloomberg Terminal Demo Request


Connecting decision makers to a dynamic network of information, people and ideas, Bloomberg quickly and accurately delivers business and financial information, news and insight around the world.


Financial Products

Enterprise Products


Customer Support

  • Americas

    +1 212 318 2000

  • Europe, Middle East, & Africa

    +44 20 7330 7500

  • Asia Pacific

    +65 6212 1000


Industry Products

Media Services

Follow Us

Bloomberg Customers

Lip-Synching Ghost of Milli Vanilli haunts Olympic Ceremony

Posted by: Frederik Balfour on August 12, 2008

We were all awed by the tremendous artistry of the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, especially the pyrotechnic display. But then organizers admitted that artistic director Zhang Yimou included computer-generated fireworks to enhance the real thing to wow television viewers even more. Click for the Reuters story here.
NBC meanwhile doctored the “live” transmission of the ceremony to give more prominence to the U.S. team parade.

Now there are more revelations that China has its very own 9-year-old Milli Vanilli. [For those of you too young to know about the infamous outing of that lip-syching duo, click here ]according to this BBC story , Lin Miaoke, the angel-faced darling who won the hearts of billions when she allegedly belted out “Ode to the Motherland” during the ceremonies wasn’t actually singing. The real voice broadcast belongs to Yang Peiyi, who according to musical director Chen Qigang, didn’t have the “flawless” face needed for the extravaganza.

No doubt you Chinese readers will tell me that as a Canadian that I don’t understand the importance of face. And after visiting China off and on since 1985, I’ll be the first to admit you are probably right. So let me defer to somebody swho does. In an email I just received from our Malaysian-Chinese summer intern, Sabrina Chan, she says: “I’m sad for all the less pretty girls with better talent. It’s a horrible message to send out.. “

Reader Comments


August 13, 2008 11:19 AM

Well, That will be very disappointing if it's true..


August 13, 2008 12:03 PM

There is a difference between Milli Vanilli and this incidence. Milli Vanilli was found out by the press while on this case it was acknowledge by the Chinese Olympic organizer (so much for lack of transparency).
It is just a show and this little girl singing is just a small portion of the entire ceremony. Enjoy the show rather than finding defect to point and laugh at!
Need a microscope to find defect isn't that right Mr. Fredy Balfour?

BS Week

August 13, 2008 2:11 PM

What does this has anything to do with business? BS Week is the new name of this trashy magazine.


August 13, 2008 4:41 PM

I don't totally agree with what happened. The best solution is that they should seek a girl with both beauty and good sound. China is so populous, it could not be difficult. The organizers of the ceremony just did their job for convenience not perfection. This is now a hot topic on Chinese websites inside and outside of China. Actually Peiyi is not ugly, she is just ordinary but she is shy. Her pictures can now be found on Chinese forums doemstic or overseas.

I saw the pictures of the menu for Olympic ceremoney, both kids' name were listed clearly. Peiyi's name was even put before Miaoke's. That's not a secret at all. Of course the ceremony was so good, media become more picky. This is also a good chance to smear the games since it is in China.

The arrangement got agreement from both families and also the media who bought the broadcasting rights as stated.

come on

August 13, 2008 6:05 PM


My gosh... do you not even know who the most famous director in China is yet you say you cover China since 1985!!!

No wonder your articles are junk.

And sorry, a Malaysian-Chinese is not a mainland Chinese! Lumping her together and her ideas with how mianlanders think is ridiculous.

frederik balfour

August 13, 2008 11:33 PM

Dear Come On.
Thank you for pointing out my typo, I have made a correction to the story.

show biz

August 14, 2008 1:11 AM

Come on. It is show business.
Brits are so afraid of that they are not going to top off this in their wild dreams.

By the way Business Week, please have some decent news and stories!

Harry Yang

August 14, 2008 3:04 AM

It's just a ceremony, chinese people made lots of efforts on it. It is a beautiful show, you could enjoy it and would be thankful if you have the heart of fairness.


August 14, 2008 5:35 AM

If Mr. Zhang believes in the importance of beautiful face, he should have allowed Lin Miaoke to sing in her voice. If a beautiful voice is more important then Yang Peiyi should be presented and sing. Because, come on, “Ode to the Motherland” is an expression of love and pride to the nation, and no bad voice/looks can belittle that. Judging by the many comments that critique but seems to skirt the main gist of the essay, I can only guess the supporters of this lip-synching act are still looking for a proper line of argument. We can wait...
As for the views of Sabrina Chan, I suspect many Chinese nationals themselves would agree to it too. But don't take my word for it, I don't presume to have the same thinking as the chinese themselves for I am only a humble singaporean-chinese...

M Girl

August 14, 2008 5:37 AM

Have to admit when I first heard about the lip synching, I felt a bit sick, but then all the ink generated since then has worned us all out. So what. Seriously. Especially if both names of the real singer and the face is there on the programe. This little girl, if we are splitting hairs was not as memorable (although I love her little red dress!) as the little girl who sang (for real)... at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Now can we just focus on the amazing dedication and skills of all these fine athletes that have gathered in China to represent their country and themselves?


August 25, 2008 6:34 PM

I think both girls were cute in their own way's and China indeed admitted the lip sync.

However I do not understand how a person's perceived beauty of small kids is related to national interest? Will some Chinese friends elaborate please?


August 28, 2008 5:59 PM

They fake it as well and they only came clean 8 years later. China kindly inform everyone of this issue up front and what happened? China got punished next time China should learn that does not pay to be nice to the Western news such as BusinessWeek!
Orchestra admits 'miming' at Sydney Olympics in 2000

Thu Aug 28, 11:44 AM ET

SYDNEY (AFP) - Eight years after it hosted an Olympics that were famously hailed as the "best games ever," Sydney has had to confess that it faked one of the key musical performances at the opening ceremony in 2000.

The revelation came after it emerged that nine-year-old Lin Miaoke was just lip-synching when she "sang" a patriotic song before 91,000 people and a global television audience during the August 8 opening ceremony at the Beijing Games.

Orchestra bosses have admitted that the Sydney Symphony Orchestra (SSO) mimed its entire performance at the ceremony, and that some of the real music was in fact recorded by rival musicians in Melbourne.

"It was all pre-recorded and the MSO (Melbourne Symphony Orchestra) did record a minority of the music that was performed," SSO managing director Libby Christie told Australia's Fairfax newspapers earlier this week.

Frederik Balfour

August 28, 2008 6:27 PM

It looks like the Chinese weren't the first to fake part of their musical performance at the Olympic Games. An alert reader has pointed out to me an AFP story which says the Australians faked the entire symphony performance at the opening games in Sydney in 2000. That reader also asked me if I was going to apologize for taking China to task over the Lin Miaoke incident. Sorry, I don't feel an apology would be appropriate. Two wrongs do not make a right.


August 28, 2008 6:37 PM

Good job! Correction done!!


September 1, 2008 3:59 PM

The NBC commentator specifically said, as the footage was being shown, that the event's producers were using a cinematic interlude to convey the concept of the fireworks. The actual footprint firewoks WERE going off at the same time, and in much the same way... tourists and people in Beijing saw the footprint fireworks fired above sky.

but there was simply no way to be sure they could show it well on TV - since it was hard to capture all those 29 footprint fireworks on a helicopter, and it was hard to predict the weather or other cirumstances, and following those footprint fireworks could endanger the safety of the helicopter pilot. So, they showed a 55-second CGI illustration for the people watching TV. They weren't hiding anything, they came right out and SAID what they were doing. The whole thing was REAL, there were indeed 29 footprint fireworks fired in the city above the sky at the beginning of the opening ceremony, only what you saw on TV was simulated.

Besides, China informed the commentators from around the globe beforehand that the footprint fireworks on TV is just a rendition, many countries' commentators during the live broadcast did comment to family audience that the footprint firework on TV is just a CGI rendition to convey what's happening in Beijing. Since China came upfront with this, why the western media still condemned China afterwards, it seems the western media have to exploit every opportunity to besmirch China.

As for the lip-synched girl, this is not the first time it happend in the Olympics and you are all silly to believe this. Salt Lake City Winter Olympics is a prime example. As the furry white creatures sang during the opening ceremony, it was actually pre recorded by SLC's, Cathedral of the Madeleine's choir school.

And others like pre-recorded Lang Lang music, presenting China's 56 ethnic groups without those ethnic groups. These are no big deal.

Politics aside, Beijing's opening ceremony is the most stunning and imposing show on the planet. Can London 2012 beat it or as good as it? Sorry, I don't think so.

Post a comment



Bloomberg Businessweek’s team of Asia reporters brings you the latest insights on business, politics, technology and culture from some of the world’s biggest and fastest-growing economies.

BW Mall - Sponsored Links

Buy a link now!