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BEIJING (Reuters Life!) - Two Chinese singers have become the first people in the country to fall foul of new rules banning lip-synching nearly two years after widespread criticism of miming at the Beijing Olympics' opening ceremony.
The two young female singers were spotted lip-synching during a concert in southwestern China's Chengdu city last year, the official Xinhua news agency said on its website (www.xinhuanet.com).
"No signals were received from their microphones while the show was on," it quoted an official with the local government's cultural affairs office as saying.
The two have been fined 50,000 yuan ($7,329) each, Xinhua added.
China's feisty internet users frequently blame famous singers of short-selling their fans by lip-synching on stage.
But some have also wondered why these first fines were leveled against two almost unknown singers rather than more famous stars.
"Why do they choose to keep their eyes closed when it's a famous singer miming?" one commentator wrote on the website of the Beijing Daily.
Lip-synching, known as "fake singing" in Chinese, burst into the open during 2008's Beijing Olympics.
China's Olympic organizers were lambasted by Internet users and in the media after they admitted a nine-year-old girl lip-synched during the opening ceremony, in place of the real singer who was rejected because of her appearance.
The Culture Ministry then issued an edict formally banning lip-synching and threatened to revoke the performance licenses of repeat offenders.
Reporting by Huang Yan and Ben Blanchard