Sunday, January 23

Chinese leader insults Obama; Did WH know?

On Jan. 19th the Obama administration hosted a "state dinner" honoring the visit of the chairman of China's communist party, Hu Jintao.

Part of the evening included entertainment, and one of the artists was a world-famous Chinese pianist (apparently currently living in NYC) named Lang Lang. A few minutes into his set, the pianist played a song from an anti-American propaganda movie about the Korean war. Apparently this song is as familiar to Chinese (and of course North Koreans) as any Hollywood movie theme would be to Americans, and the song has been a leading piece of anti-American propaganda by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for decades.

Okay, so a Chinese pianist got in an inside-joke dig at the U.S. at a state dinner in our own White House, in which we were honoring their leader. Big deal--it's hard to predict what an "artist" will do on stage, right?

But wait--it gets interesting: Did the Chinese delegation know this was planned? Let's put it this way: If you believe they didn't, run along and play with the kiddies while the adults talk. I mean really... being that naive can get you killed.

Okay, you want proof? In an interview broadcast on a flagship Chinese TV station Lang is quoted as saying that he chose the piece, and about its significance and how playing the piece at the White House dinner asserted how "formidable" China is.

The interview in question was broadcast just before the dinner in Washington. It was taped, apparently several days earlier.

Chinese TV stations are staffed almost exclusively by reliable members of the communist party, all of whom are excruciatingly aware that being politically inept usually means loss of job and family privileges. Given the advance videotaping of Lang's interview, it's impossible to believe Lang Lang's plans weren't known to the station's political cadre--and thus immediately to China's political rulers.

Okay, so the Chinese leadership was in on the "humiliation" (as various Chinese are putting it). Big deal--it's about the same degree of class and cleverness as hotel workers in vacation spots who smile as they insult tourists in a language the latter can't understand. Real sophomoric humor, and evidence of no class.

Now for a question: Did anyone in the Obama administration know this song was on the evening's program? If so, failure to recognize the planned insult would show either ineptitude or lack of communication between the dinner's planners and administration experts on Chinese culture. Either way, yet another evidence of incompetence.

Keep in mind that even though Lang is Chinese, the evening's entertainment was planned by Team Obama. One presumes the artist told them exactly what pieces he planned to play. So either the artist pulled a switch on them (but with the full knowledge of the Chinese delegation) or no member of Team Obama bothered to vet the planned play list. Either way...

It's a dilemma for Team Obama: Either admit incompetence or admit our biggest lenders were brazen enough to insult their messiah at the latter's own state dinner. Whoooo, wouldn't wanna have to choose which way to go on that!

But of course, our Democrat-loving media will never ask this of the Obamites, because it would be so embarrassing, so we'll never know.

Oh, wait...a reporter did ask both the White House and the Chinese embassy for comment. Neither returned the call.

Said reporter was not part of the mainstream media. But then you already guessed that.

UPDATE: Wikipedia is widely recognized as a heavily left-wing site masquerading as a neutral reference source. (That's for the 20-year-olds; all you experienced hands already knew that.) When Wiki weighs in on the *interpretation* of any event, you know you're reading the Left's approved narrative. So here's Wiki:

White House state dinner controversy

At the White House state dinner in honor of Chinese President Hu Jintao on January 19, Lang Lang played the theme song to the Korean War movie Battle on Shangganling Mountain...[33] Although the tune is popular and had lost much of its political and historical significances in China,[34] one of the lyric lines "we deal with wolves with guns" had been described as a direct reference to the United States.[35]

Commentators from The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal soon questioned Lang's music choice after the state dinner. Micheal [sic] Wines from the New York Times described the situation as "regrettable",[36] while Cathy Yan from the Wall Street Journals [sic] commented that Lang was "blissfully unaware unaware of the political minefield he was stumbling into".[33] In an interview broadcast on Phoenix TV, Lang Lang was quoted saying "I thought to play "My Motherland" because I think playing the tune at the White House banquet can help us, as Chinese people, feel extremely proud of ourselves and express our feelings through the song."

Today is Jan 23rd. The articles by Michael Wines and Cathy Yan were published on the 21st and 22nd, respectively. The two typos in the Wiki entry suggest how quickly the damage-control team rushed the addendum to the article into print.

Moreover, Yan's reassuring comment that Lang was "blissfully unaware unaware of the political minefield he was stumbling into" is contradicted by the Wiki author's very next sentence, in which Lang is quoted as to his reason for the choice: "can help us as Chinese people feel extremely proud of ourselves..."

Why proud? Ah, because in the film a village of outgunned Korean peasants--symbols of the glories of communist determination--holds off the nasty Americans.

Lang knew what he was doing. As did Hu. As did the Wiki author.

Now, let me say that personally, this sort of juvenile insult bothers me not a bit. I think it shows poor taste and bad manners by the Chinese, period. Unfortunately, in the rest of the world letting someone come into your house--historically the show home of the United States--and openly embarrass you, is seen as a display of dominance rather than simple bad manners. Moreover it conveys the message that the party delivering the insult feels completely safe from any reprimand, repercussion or retaliation.

And not only did 1.3 billion Chinese get this message, but so did 1.2 billion Muslims.

The perception of strength--and the willingness to use it--is far better than having to use it.


Blogger bobby fletcher said...

You might want to google "China's God Bless America" to see what this song is really about.

Epoch Times is Well known for it's anti-China slant.

To say the song is anti-American is like saying Star Spangled Banner is anti-British. We play it to the Queen, does it mean we are rubbing her nose in? The Revolutionary War and Korean War are both historical facts, so what does it have to do with respective state visits today?

Lang Lang picked a song for the visiting guest, don't read too much into it. It was also sang during the Olympics, in front of President Bush.

12:49 AM  
Blogger sf said...

Bobby: Good points. Let me counter by saying that the extensive quotes from Lang show that one of the reasons for his choice was the message the song contained of Chinese power--even though the song was from a movie about Korean villagers fighting the U.S.

So while I agree that that one must consider editorial bias of all sources, I don't think the choice was as innocuous as you imply.

10:21 AM  
Blogger sf said...

Oh, and sorry for the delay in approving your comment. Chaotic schedule here. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

10:22 AM  
Anonymous cp said...

I'm not sure how I stumbled upon this, but I thought I'd point out that the origins of the song doesn't hold the weight of the song's meaning anymore. It's is a patriotic song, but is in no way "anti-American".

It's not exactly unheard of that people from the US flaunt how proud they are of their country. Lang was doing the same. The Chinese can be proud of their country, but that doesn't mean they're trying to insult the US.

5:25 AM  

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