The following post is meant as a public-service “heads-up” message to one Ms. B. Spears.
Britney darling: I know that China is high on your list of tour destinations – “exploding market,” “millions of rabid fans,” and all that. But it looks like you’ll just have to cross it off. The authorities there seemed determined to seriously cramp your style. I mean it: forget about it.
This we learn today from an article in Berlin’s Der Tagesspiegel, entitled Peking wants to punish “playback-singing.” What is this are they talking about? Yep, you guessed it: lip-synching. That’s could be a strict no-go soon, punishable by Chinese law as “fraud towards the public” (Betrug an der Öffentlichkeit, although I suspect the Chinese use yet another phrase for official purposes). In fact, the Chinese Culture Ministry is considering making not only lip-synching but also instrument-synching (or whatever you call pretending to play your instrument against the pre-recorded sound of it playing the required tune) against the law.
Those of you with rather longer memories than it is fashionable to have in these times might now leap up and declaim “Oooh, the sheer hypocrisy! Was it not these same Chinese who were behind (among other offenses against reality) the lip-synching little-girl singer at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic games last summer?” You’re absolutely right, and according to the Der Tagesspiegel article (written by “jg,” sourced from the French press agency AFP), that’s the point: it seems the Chinese authorities by now are feeling rather bad about having done that. So no one else will be allowed to do that, either. (Not that anyone was actually sanctioned for that Olympic lip-synching at the time or afterwards, that anybody knows about, but that’s the way these things go.)