Beijing-based legal scholar Xu Zhiyong (许志永) writes on his blog, translated by CDT:
Seven-year-old Yang Peiyi sang a lovely song for the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games. However, audiences all over the world thought that the song was sung by another girl, Lin Miaoke, whose picture was published on the New York Times and who became a household name after the ceremony. Lin replaced Yang to appear on stage because she was better-looking. Nobody knew that the lovely voice actually was Yang’s until a music director revealed the truth accidentally. Many Chinese people became outraged at the lie. Why did they cheat? How could the appearance of a seven year old affect China’s national interest?
However, Wang Wei, Executive Vice President of Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee said, “This is a collective decision. It was done to achieve the best dramatic effect. I do not think there was any wrongdoing.”
They covered up this typical cheating behavior as “cooperation,” and thought that it was quite normal! If it was cooperation between Yang and Lin, why didn’t they announce that the voice was Yang’s? Intellectual property rights have been emphasized a lot for the Olympics, how come they forgot about it? In fact, such a cover-up didn’t make much sense, because we know that they were lying. It’s such a great pity that they have never learned how shameful it is to lie in the civilized world.
Fireworks were forged at Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, and Pavarotti’s singing was actually a recorded audio. However, those who cheated then were not as unscrupulous as officials of the Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee. They admitted that the fireworks shown on TV were to create a festive atmosphere, and Pavarotti didn’t sing because he was suffering from cancer. They asked for forgiveness. However, the Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee just said “Oh, it’s nothing.”
BOCOG may feel wronged, or even feel that anti-China media are again making trouble out of the blue. Actually the media’s reaction was quite normal. Reporters are normal people, and all normal people would be angry if they knew the truth after they cheered for Lin. The world was acting in a normal way. It’s the BOCOG bureaucrats who were abnormal. Although they’ve tried very hard, they still are not used to an open and civilized modern society, and they are not used to public criticism, which an official in a democratic society often encounters…
Also, they made a grand announcement of opening three parks for demonstrations, which I had thought to be a sign of openness. However, several petitioners who I am familiar with have disappeared after they applied for demonstrations. It has become a trap. The whole world knows what has happened, but the BOCOG still says that all applications for demonstrations have been “properly handled.” They might think that all mankind are idiots.
China’s image is being ruined by these people who tell lies shamelessly to the world. They should just admit when they do something wrong. What can be lost if they sincerely make an apology? If they take a little bit of responsibility for China’s international image, they should have realized that it’s better to boost China’s image through telling fewer lies than staging an extravagant opening ceremony.