“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
In a press release on Jan. 21, the well-known democracy activist Wei Jingsheng commented on Lang Lang’s performance at the White House. Wei underscores how U.S. administrations have failed to understand the CCP.
He said, “These [Chinese communist] dictators… will not want the same values and civilization as the democratic West. They have no hesitation to use subterfuge and insult to the best of their advantage against the people at home, as well as against their hosts abroad, even in the White House.”
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 had a bum arm at the time. He stood with a rigid face and held 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.