BEIJING (Reuters) - A pretty girl who shot to fame at China's Olympic opening ceremony was a photogenic front for the real singer, who was rejected appearance-wise in the "national interest," Chinese media reported on Tuesday.
Nine-year-old Lin Miaoke has been celebrated across China as the angelic voice with the cute face who sang "Ode to the Motherland" at Friday's opening extravaganza.
But a director of the opening ceremony, Chen Qigang, told state television Lin's voice was overdubbed by the singing of the real child singer Yang Peiyi, said the government-run China News Service.
"Yang Peiyi missed out on selection (to appear at the ceremony) because of her external appearance. It was for the national interest," Chen was quoted as saying.
China has gone to extraordinary lengths and expense to ensure a picture perfect Games.
An official disclosed on Wednesday that some of the scenes of fireworks broadcast at the opening were pre-recorded.
Among sections pre-recorded were parts of a stunning series of firework "footprints" across Beijing that led to the Bird's Nest stadium where the four-hour spectacular was staged, Games Executive Vice President Wang Wei told reporters.
But getting one child to appear as the face of another was a step too far, some Chinese said in comments posted on the Internet.
"Why worry so much about appearances? All seven-year-olds are angels," said one.
Additional reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Ralph Gowling