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Lang Lang Plays Chinese Propaganda Tune at White House

Posted By: Shosty

Lang Lang Plays Chinese Propaganda Tune at White House - 01/23/11 07:24 PM

Lang Lang the pianist says he chose it. Chairman Hu Jintao recognized it as soon as he heard it. Patriotic Chinese Internet users were delighted as soon as they saw the videos online. Early morning TV viewers in China knew it would be played an hour or two beforehand. At the White House State dinner on Jan. 19, about six minutes into his set, Lang Lang began tapping out a famous anti-American propaganda melody from the Korean War: the theme song to the movie “Battle on Shangganling Mountain.”

The film depicts a group of “People’s Volunteer Army” soldiers who are first hemmed in at Shanganling (or Triangle Hill) and then, when reinforcements arrive, take up their rifles and counterattack the U.S. military “jackals.”

The movie and the tune are widely known among Chinese, and the song has been a leading piece of anti-American propaganda by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for decades. CCP propaganda has always referred to the Korean War as the “movement to resist America and help [North] Korea.” The message of the propaganda is that the United States is an enemy—in fighting in the Korean War the United States’ real goal was said to be to invade and conquer China. The victory at Triangle Hill was promoted as a victory over imperialists.

The song Lang Lang played describes how beautiful China is and then near the end has this verse, “When friends are here, there is fine wine /But if the jackal comes /What greets it is the hunting rifle.” The “jackal” in the song is the United States.

The name of the song is “My Motherland,” originally titled “Big River.” In an interview broadcast on Phoenix TV, the first thing Lang Lang is quoted as saying is that he chose the piece.

He then said, “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. I think it’s especially good. Also, I like the tune in and of itself, every time I hear it I feel extremely moved.”

He expressed this idea more frankly in a later blog post, writing: “Playing this song praising China to heads of state from around the world seems to tell them that our China is formidable, that our Chinese people are united; I feel deeply honored and proud.”
Known in Advance

Whether Lang Lang’s decision to play “My Motherland” was entirely his own is impossible to confirm. That his choice was known in advance to CCP officials is very likely.

Cheng Xiaonong is a former assistant to former CCP General Secretary Zhao Ziyang. He now lives in New Jersey and is a commentator on Chinese politics.

Cheng said that “The White House had to report in advance to the Chinese delegation and so the Chinese delegation would have certainly known Lang Lang’s program.”

Cheng believes, however, that the Chinese delegation would see no reason to suggest a change in the program. “The program is not against the interests of China. In fact, it is the opposite.”

In addition to the Chinese delegation likely knowing of the program in advance, CCP officials connected to Phoenix TV would also have known.

Phoenix TV is based in Hong Kong and its signal may be seen throughout China by satellite. Its interview with Lang Lang was broadcast at 7 a.m. Beijing time on Jan. 20, which is 6 p.m. D.C. time on Jan. 19—shortly before the state dinner. The interview was not live—it was filmed on another day in advance of the broadcast.

Phoenix TV, nominally independent, is known to have very close ties to the CCP. The scholar Anne-Marie Brady, whose research focuses on China’s media and propaganda, has said that Phoenix TV is more loyal to the Chinese regime than the official state-run media.

At a minimum, the staff at Phoenix TV knew in advance that Lang Lang planned to play the song. Given the close ties between the network and the CCP and the sensitivity of anything broadcast about Hu’s state visit, CCP officials not knowing this in advance would be unusual.

“My Motherland” having been played at the White House will be seen as a propaganda triumph in China.

“In the eyes of all Chinese, this will not be seen as anything other than a big insult to the U.S.,” says Yang Jingduan, a Chinese psychiatrist now living in Philadelphia who had in China been a doctor in the Chinese military. “It’s like insulting you in your face and you don’t know it, it’s humiliating.”

Yang sees Lang Lang choosing this tune as an expression of the deeply anti-American propaganda that is constant in China.

“This deeply anti-American chauvinism has been fanned by the CCP for years; Lang Lang is expressing the feelings of this generation of angry young people,” Yang said.

A well-known example of such feelings was seen on Sept. 11, 2001, when Chinese chat rooms were filled with young people celebrating this act of terror as an American defeat.

Excited at this coup, patriotic Chinese have been circulating the clip for the last several days. One netizen wrote “the right place, right time, right song!”

The phrase “right place, right time, right song” echoes Chinese propaganda and is a declaration of victory over the United States. Chinese have been taught that the United States lost the Korean War. A U.S. general is quoted in the propaganda as describing the Korean War as being “the wrong war at the wrong time in the wrong place with the wrong enemy,” which is taken as an admission of defeat. In fact, the quote is from Gen. Omar N. Bradley testifying to Congress as to why the United States should not extend the Korean War into China.

Another Chinese commenting on a forum responded to the Lang Lang performance by writing, “Defeat America, defeat Obama” (writing Obama’s name with the wrong first character, one meaning “sunken” or “dented.”)

Others wrote comments like: “omg!”; “Didn’t they know?”; “Where was the U.S. foreign affairs?” and “Very good. My impression of Lang Lang has really changed.”

More moderate Chinese have expressed disappointment at the attitudes of their countrymen.

A sinovision blog quotes “Professor A” saying : “Everyone knows this Shangganling is from a ‘Resist America, Support Korea’ film, and I think Lang Lang would know that too. If he knew the song’s background and still chose to play it, then you can guess his motivation, or intellectual capacity. If he didn’t know, then mainland China’s education system is in more of a mess than I thought...

“Suppose for a moment that Obama was invited to a banquet in China, and he invited an American artist who had performed in China for many years to play an American war song against China, what kind of reaction do you think the Chinese government and people would have? … I think the American government still doesn’t know the background of this song—if they knew, wouldn’t they be offended?”
Humiliating the US

Whether Chinese officials intended Lang Lang to play this piece, its performance at the White House fits a general pattern of Chinese propaganda attacking the United States. Subtle details are seized on and used to humiliate the United States before the Chinese people.

When Nixon visited China, a photo was taken of him getting off the plane to greet Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai. Nixon has a big smile and extends his hand out to Zhou. Zhou stands with a rigid face and holds his hand close to his body.

The photo was widely used in all of the Chinese media to help support the idea that Nixon’s visit was a victory for China. Chinese schoolchildren were told, “See how long Nixon’s arm is stretched out? That shows the United States is reaching out to us.”

When President Obama visited China in November 2009, he toured the Imperial Palace. Obama exited through the Shen Wu Men, which may be translated as Gate of Divine Prowess. CCTV reported that he exited through the Shun Zhen Men, which may be translated as “Gate of Obedience and Purity.”

In fact, the Gate of Divine Prowess is the outer gate and everyone must exit through it. However, Chinese media would not accord President Obama the honor of going through the “Gate of Divine Prowess.”

Neither the White House nor the Chinese Embassy responded to phone calls requesting comment on this story.

http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/content/view/49822/
Posted By: PaulaPiano34

Re: Lang Lang Plays Chinese Propaganda Tune at White House - 01/23/11 07:36 PM

Lang Lang is completely nuts...
Posted By: Theodore Slutz

Re: Lang Lang Plays Chinese Propaganda Tune at White House - 01/23/11 08:53 PM

soooooooooo glad someone posted about this event as i was about to.

my wife is chinese and i have many mainland chinese friends that are former communist party members that knew exactly that the intent was behind this.... they all denounced this act.

i am sooo disappointed in lang lang as i have enjoyed his lack of political commentary a blessing only to find out what he really thinks of us americans and all non chinese. and btw, don't think this attitude of "you are so stupid you dont even know i am insulting you" is for americans only... anyone other than mainland chinese, and even those that descent in china are subject to this treatment.

people of china both mainland and abroad, please wake up and stop letting people like this speak for the vast majority that dont agree.... we americans have the same problem with majority descent.

JUST REMEMBER NOT ALL CHINESE ARE LIKE THIS AND SOME THAT DO THESE TYPES OF THINGS ARE, LIKE LANG LANG, MAY BE BLACKMAILED INTO DOING IT WITH THREATS OF FAMILY MEMBERS BACK HOME. IT HAPPENS EVERYDAY.
Posted By: jeffreyjones

Re: Lang Lang Plays Chinese Propaganda Tune at White House - 01/23/11 11:05 PM

I had no respect for Lang Lang to begin with because he's a mediocre pianist with a hideous technique, ridiculous gesticulations, and an insipid sound. Whether he is thumbing his nose at America is entirely secondary to any opinion I might have of him.
Posted By: stores

Re: Lang Lang Plays Chinese Propaganda Tune at White House - 01/23/11 11:37 PM

Originally Posted by jeffreyjones
I had no respect for Lang Lang to begin with because he's a mediocre pianist with a hideous technique, ridiculous gesticulations, and an insipid sound. Whether he is thumbing his nose at America is entirely secondary to any opinion I might have of him.


I'm not gay, but I think I may love you heart
Posted By: liszt85

Re: Lang Lang Plays Chinese Propaganda Tune at White House - 01/23/11 11:42 PM

I tend to agree with your perceptions of Lang Lang. However, I must say I watched a video of him performing a Mozart sonata once. I really liked it, I don't know where to find that video now. It was very playful and I can imagine Mozart having been that playful with that piece.

This Chinese propaganda thing is ridiculous of course. You don't go to a country that's been very welcoming of you and do that. I say this to my compatriots too. If you want to criticize the US and especially if you have nothing good to say about this country, why come here and use their resources? Why don't you take your ass back to where you came from, use the resources there, and then talk crap about the US? I never get these people.



Posted By: Dave Horne

Re: Lang Lang Plays Chinese Propaganda Tune at White House - 01/23/11 11:57 PM

I'm guessing within a few days everything will be made more clear. Until then, I'll reserve my judgment.

The Wiki link ... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Motherland gives the lyrics in English. I tend to think this is a tempest in a teapot, but what do I know?

In the grand scheme of things, if China were to cash in the US obligations it holds, the entire financial world would collapse. I think we should be nice to China, if push comes to shove, they have considerably more weight.

I'm going with the tempest in a teapot ... and I'm sure FOX News agrees. smile
Posted By: Dave Horne

Re: Lang Lang Plays Chinese Propaganda Tune at White House - 01/24/11 12:14 AM

people of china both mainland and abroad, please wake up and stop letting people like this speak for the vast majority that dont agree.... we americans have the same problem with majority descent.

Yea, talking about majority dissent brings to mind a Presidential election where the popular vote was ignored. This seems to be a universal problem. grin

I'm descending to your level of dissent. smile

Posted By: debrucey

Re: Lang Lang Plays Chinese Propaganda Tune at White House - 01/24/11 12:41 AM

The article explains very clearly that its due to its association with propaganda films, not its lyrics that make it insulting.
Posted By: Andromaque

Re: Lang Lang Plays Chinese Propaganda Tune at White House - 01/24/11 12:43 AM

They have Fox News in the Netherlands??

I don't care much what Lang Lang does. I have never liked his artistrt and I have never supported his "products".
But I do not know teh first thing about this "song" (I guess he was playing a real song) but I must say that the White House staff in charge of this affair should have vetted the program . I would fire them if the above allegations prove to be true. Highly disrespectful in my book.
Posted By: Theodore Slutz

Re: Lang Lang Plays Chinese Propaganda Tune at White House - 01/24/11 01:06 AM

i met with the head of johnny depp's production company a few years back to discuss a possible project when he was dumbfounded about the subject material i presented. when he asked if the story was true i said,

"Don't worry, its much worse than you think."

he laughed because he recently, at the time, sat down with a recently defected iraqi general that served under saddam and divulged many facts regarding the country's "outside influence" before and after the war and when asked if it was true he said,

"Don't worry, its much worse than you think."

most don't know all the facts regarding many things that have occurred in the past century and that continue on now. that is because under the national security act of 1947, the CIA started "operation mockingbird" and brought under its control all of the media in this country and they willingly complied. this includes so called right and left media (so really its not much different than what the soviets had and what the chinese have now with the Xignhua, its just most aren't aware of the control. (dont take my word for it research it under the FOIA or the 1970s senate committees)

the point is when the autonomous authority of the (a) government acts improperly, its the general population that gets blamed and targeted after being left out of the decision making and they ultimately suffer. america's bad reputation on the world stage is a perfect example of why so many hate america yet we have little to no influence on the power of the runaway government for the past century.

i think this has always been the case in the history of different governmental powers making the gen pop pay for their mistakes through death and taxes and its no different with china's communists and america's pseudo socialist apparatus that has been in place for some time now.

autocracies are a drag.
Posted By: Theodore Slutz

Re: Lang Lang Plays Chinese Propaganda Tune at White House - 01/24/11 01:31 AM

btw,

on the issue of popular vote dave horne:

america is a constitutional republic not a democracy. a democracy is majority rule and can change law according to the needs of the ever changing and fashionable many while leaving the possibilities of suppression of the minority voice.

however a constitutional republic, as long as it includes a bill of rights, ensures a voice for even the smallest minority even if they have to sue in a court of law to ensure that.

in the end the popular vote leaves the minority voice out while the electoral college is meant to share power and influence across the house of congress more evenly. (at least in theory... however there is corruption in every govnmet and i believe the votes are rigged and i have it on good authority the numbers are skewed)

on the issue of debt:

we have 1 trillion in debt with china but 14 overall and not all with china so they have power but not absolute as whatever money they have they got from us and the rest of the world buying their rubber chickens. if our spineless congress had the guts they would simply put their foot down and encourage or force (omg that sounds authoritarian... oops) our corporations to deal with india, indonesia thailand or any number of countries that don't outlaw unions and human rights.

so in the end.. we dont have to deal with china and there really is no good reason to continue to do so.
Posted By: BruceD

Re: Lang Lang Plays Chinese Propaganda Tune at White House - 01/24/11 01:37 AM

Theodore Slutz :

While the subject of this thread has political overtones, don't let the thread devolve, please, into a soapbox for your political views and theories.

Thank you.
Posted By: Theodore Slutz

Re: Lang Lang Plays Chinese Propaganda Tune at White House - 01/24/11 01:46 AM

yeah ur right... m at the computer doing some work and need to resist the temptation to comment just get my work done.

alright no more distractions.
Posted By: keyboardklutz

Re: Lang Lang Plays Chinese Propaganda Tune at White House - 01/24/11 07:13 AM

I wonder how many Chinese goods Theodore has at home? I never buy Chinese if I can help it, not because of any dislike (I think they're the most civilized) but because I refuse to support what is in effect slave labour. All I'll say to the rest of the world is - if you want a consumer society, make the damn stuff yourselves!

p.s. it's weird this thread hasn't been locked
Posted By: Dave Horne

Re: Lang Lang Plays Chinese Propaganda Tune at White House - 01/24/11 10:05 AM

p.s. it's weird this thread hasn't been locked

This is certainly more fun than the tiring, tedious technique thread. smile
Posted By: izaldu

Re: Lang Lang Plays Chinese Propaganda Tune at White House - 01/24/11 12:54 PM

Maybe Lang Lang has reasons to not speak up against his despicable Government and its dictatorial ways. Like said, they may be using his relatives in China against him.

But , if that is not the case , adn he really feels "proud" ... well what an idiot.

Having said all the above, to call Lang langh s technique "hideous" ... well ...
Posted By: izaldu

Re: Lang Lang Plays Chinese Propaganda Tune at White House - 01/24/11 12:55 PM

Maybe he has reasons to not speak up against his despicable Government and its dictatorial ways. Like said, they may be using his relatives in China against him.

But , if tha is not the case , adn he really feels "proud" ... well what an idiot.

Having said all the above, to call Lang langh s technique "hideous" ... well ...
Posted By: JGonzalezGUS

Re: Lang Lang Plays Chinese Propaganda Tune at White House - 01/24/11 01:09 PM

Lang Lang, White House, China, CIA.....

And the point of all this is.... ???????????????????
Posted By: Dave Horne

Re: Lang Lang Plays Chinese Propaganda Tune at White House - 01/24/11 01:33 PM

I searched the BBC News (using Lang Lang White House) and came up with nothing.

I'm guessing this is a news item for ultra right wing sites that see conspiracies everywhere. smile

Could someone provide a CNN, BBC, or AP News link that has a hysterical response to all of this?
Posted By: wdot

Re: Lang Lang Plays Chinese Propaganda Tune at White House - 01/24/11 02:36 PM

Originally Posted by Dave Horne
I searched the BBC News (using Lang Lang White House) and came up with nothing.

I'm guessing this is a news item for ultra right wing sites that see conspiracies everywhere. smile

Could someone provide a CNN, BBC, or AP News link that has a hysterical response to all of this?

The lack of any mention of this situation by CNN, BBC, or the AP perhaps says more about those news services than it does about the merits of the story.
Posted By: JGonzalezGUS

Re: Lang Lang Plays Chinese Propaganda Tune at White House - 01/24/11 03:08 PM

IMHO, the ONLY interest in the story as far as "Pianist Corner' (that's the name of the Forum, right?) is whether Lang Lang may have played (whatever he played) loud, or soft, maybe too fast or slow; maybe of interest might be the key in which he played it, or arrangement, if the piece was not originally for the piano. Anything else, while it *may* be worthy of discussion, it should be discussed in any of the thousand (I'm sure there are that many) Forums elsewhere for whatever other topic you think it should belong in.
(I'm done now).
Posted By: Theodore Slutz

Re: Lang Lang Plays Chinese Propaganda Tune at White House - 01/24/11 03:35 PM

well spoken wdot...

i feel like when people say things like mr horne said, its like we took a time warp back 500 years and you might as well say,

"well if the church says the world is flat then then its flat. you are just saying its round not because its round but because you don't like the church."

please don't be a walter duranty from the nyt.(stationed in moscow shortly after the revolution and denied any atrocities and famine only for us to hear years later by nyt own admission there were over 30 million that were murdered under the communist rule)

facts are facts regarding china's human rights issues and laughing and saying its hysterical is just simply the reason why it continues.

the majority of the people that started epoch times, where the article came from, suffered under the ccp and had no outlet in which to tell their stories as no one would listen, so they started their own news service. its the most widely read chinese language news in the world actually... tells me the readers also have stories.

i hope you can take this friendly criticism mr. horne and be rational, i mean no offense.

have a great day.
Posted By: Hank Drake

Re: Lang Lang Plays Chinese Propaganda Tune at White House - 01/24/11 05:10 PM

In 1958 Van Cliburn won the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, he chose to perform a particular song as an encore following his victory concert: Moscow Nights. That's right, he played a popular Russian song - not "America, the Beautiful" or some such to rub the Muscovites' noses in it.

Cliburn repeated that song when he performed at the White House during the 1987 Reagan/Gorbachev summit.

That's how a person with class and taste handles playing in a foreign land - especially at a time of international tension.

Lang Lang played My Motherland. He may not have known that some might find this song offensive - in which case he's learned little despite extensive travel. But he's certainly learning now.

Lang Lang has already demonstrated his lack of taste in nearly all of his performances.
Posted By: BB Player

Re: Lang Lang Plays Chinese Propaganda Tune at White House - 01/24/11 05:16 PM

And this political discussion has now ended. Back to piano related matters.
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