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Chinese Netizens’ Responses to Lang Lang’s Performance at the White House

[Editor’s Notes: President Obama invited Chinese pianist Lang Lang to the White House to perform at the January 19, 2011, state dinner for visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao. Lang Lang played a solo, the famous patriotic Chinese song, “My Motherland,” for the participants. The song created great controversy, because it is the theme song of a famous 1956 anti-American movie about the Korean War, titled “Battle on Shangganling Mountain.” China calls that war a “War to Resist America and Support (North) Korea.”

Lang Lang denied that he was aware of the song’s background. China’s state media also said not to read too much into the song, but to many Chinese, this is a great diplomatic victory over the United States, especially right after the U.S. demonstrated superior military power in the face of China. The following are some comments by Chinese netizens.]

“Later, I played a solo song, ‘My Motherland.’ In the minds of us Chinese, it is ‘one the most beautiful songs.’ To be able to play this music in praise of China in front of so many foreign guests, especially the heads of state, as if to tell them about the strength of China and the unity of the Chinese, I felt deeply honored and proud.”
– Lang Lang’s own blog [1]

“The highly-skilled China took this opportunity, using a beautiful movement, to play a message beyond the piano keys to the U.S.’ aircraft carrier battle group in the Yellow Sea, ‘When friends are here, there is fine wine; But if the jackal comes, what greets it is the hunting rifle.’” (From the lyrics of the “My Motherland” where the jackal refers to the U.S. invaders)

“The power struggle on the black and white keys that Lang Lang played in 2011 ended in a tie, the same as the one 59 years ago when countless warriors’ bravely fought and bled to the last drop of blood. The best footnote to the music was still the face of Chinese Marshall Peng Dehuai, who led countless Chinese soldiers to stop the American’s flood of steel (its mechanized army) marching north to the swan song of ‘old soldiers never die’ by the aging U.S. General McArthur.”

“The great powers’ fight will use both piano and steel. None can be neglected.”
– A blog on People’s Daily Online BBS [2]

“Both the music and the lyrics are wonderful. Lang Lang is forceful!”
–  A comment on Tiexue BBS [3]

Yu Xiangzhen | IP Address: 123.122.92.* | 2011/01/25, 18:12
“Ha-ha, ‘the jackal’ means the U.S. imperialist! It’s clear that they took advantage of the fact that President Obama has little knowledge of Chinese songs. Ha-ha.”

Liu Yuanlin | IP Address: 211.161.38.* | 2011/01/25, 22:12
“A fighter with real power, (China) is temporarily behind (the U.S.); But a fighter with tricks, (the U.S.) will forever lose to (China).”
– Two comments on Liu Yuanlin’s Blog [4]

“Lang Lang played ‘My Motherland’ in the White House. He is such an unprecedented achiever!”
– The Blogger

“Support! Support! Support! Support! Support! Support! Support! Crazily Support!”
– One comment

“Ring an alarm bell to America. Give it a tough lesson.”
– Another comment [5]

“Guys, don’t be so forgetful. The three aircraft carriers and F22 stealth fighters are still at our door. If you truly think that they came just for North Korea, you truly have some brain damage. The song ‘My Motherland’ at the Hongmen Banquet (a Chinese story where the host held a banquet with the intention of killing the guest) is a wakeup call for those who forget this. It’s a song that the Chinese will never forget. It shows our love of country, and, at the same time, it tells the Americans, whose soldiers are at our door, that the Chinese will never yield. Even in a war without smoke, we still sing the song of ‘My Motherland’ and firmly safeguard our nation’s interests. What impressed us about this song is that Lang Lang is not only a highly skilled pianist, but also a great artist. Art knows no borders, but artists know. Actually, this song, even during today’s seemingly peaceful situation (between China and the U.S.), is still of extraordinary significance. All the actions that the American strategists take are for their own country and their people’s benefit. By the same token, all the actions that our politicians take are for our own country and our people’s benefit. Therefore, (the U.S.) should be on an equal footing with us and think it over. Don’t push us around too much.”
– A comment on Tianya website [6]

“As for Obama, knowing the background of the song ‘My Motherland’ is not bad for him at all. It can fix his twisted historic understanding of the Korean War. On November 10, 2010, in South Korea, Obama said the following about the Korean War, ‘This was no tie. This was a victory … It was a victory then, and it is a victory today.’ Two weeks after his speech, the Korean Peninsula’s situation nosedived: South Korea insisted on a military exercise, North Korea ‘had blood on its bayonet’ (referring to North Korea’s bombarding South Korea’s Yeonpyeong Island with artillery fire), the U.S. aircraft carriers came to the door of North Korea and China, and the Japanese took the opportunity to ‘return’ to the Korean Peninsula. For all these things, I don’t know what the Nobel Peace Prize winner Obama will think.”
– A comment to a posting at Chongqing Auto Fans Club website [7]

[1] “Lang Lang: Very Excited to Play at the White House State Dinner; Explaining Why He Chose the Song from ‘Battle on Shangganling Mountain,’” Xinhua, January 23, 2011
[2] “The Sino-U.S. Fight, from Steel to Piano,” People’s Daily BBS, January 26, 2011
[3] “Lang Lang Played ‘My Motherland,’ the Theme Song from the ‘Resist America, Support Korea’ movie ‘Battle on Shangganling Mountain,’” Tiexue BBS, January 26, 2011
[4] “Should Lang Lang Play ‘My Motherland’ at the White House State Dinner?”, January 25, 2011
[5] “Lang Lang Played ‘My Motherland’ at the White House. He Is Such an Unprecedented Achiever,” Tiexue BBS,
[6] “Lang Lang Played ‘My Motherland’ at the White House, Stirring up All the Beasts!” Tianya Website, January 24, 2011
[7] “Lang Lang Played a Song from the ‘Resist America, Support Korea’ Movie at the White House State Dinner,” Chongqing Auto Fans Club website, January 25, 2011