London, April 12 (ANI): Almost a year and a half after China outlawed the practise of miming to songs during live shows, two aspiring pop starlets have become the first singers to be fined for lip-synching.
The ban was introduced in November 2008 following public anger over the revelation that one of the stars of the opening ceremony for the Beijing Olympics had mimed her way through her performance.
Fang Ziyuan and Yin Youcan were fined 50,000 Yuan after lip-synching at a concert in Chengdu in western Sichuan Province last September.
Although they claimed to be only dancers, the pair were caught miming by officials from the Chengdu government's cultural affairs department.
"No signals were received from their microphones while the show was on," the Telegraph quoted a spokesman for the Chengdu authorities as saying.
Lip-synching has long been common practise in China. Zhang Ziyi, China's most famous movie star, is just one of many performers who have been spotted miming in recent years.
But it was only when it transpired that the child star Lin Miaoke had mimed her way through "Ode To The Motherland" during the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics that the Ministry of Culture decided to crackdown on lip-synching.
The nine-year-old's performance of the popular song captured the hearts of the nation and led to her being dubbed the "smiling angel".
Adoration turned to anger, though, after the organisers were forced to admit that another girl, who was deemed not pretty enough to represent China in front of the world, had actually been singing while Lin merely mimed the words.
Officials justified the decision by saying it was in the "national interest".
Internet users were quick to question why the two unknown singers have become the first to be fined by the authorities.
"Why do they choose to keep their eyes closed when it's a famous person miming?" one website comment read.
The severity of the punishment has left the struggling singers in shock.
"It's really unfair," Fang said.
"We were only back-up singers but we still have to pay 50,000 Yuan. We've begged the authorities to let us pay 25,000 Yuan now and then we will pay the rest in instalments over the next two years," she added. (ANI)