What has gone largely unreported in the mainstream media is that the film from which Lang borrowed his song, produced by the nascent Communist PRC government in 1956, focuses on attacking America and her struggle against communist aggression in the Korean War. The movie depicts the Battle of Triangle Hill in present-day North Korea, and follows a cadre of People’s Volunteer Army soldiers who steadfastly fight against the U.S. Air Force for control of the area, celebrating their defeat of the United States and the communist victory in the battle, as well as the communist success in capturing North Korea. Both the movie and the song, "My Motherland," are celebrated in the PRC-issued history text History of War to Resist America and Aid Korea, Volume III, published by the state-run Chinese Military Science Academy.
According to The Epoch Times:
The song performed by Lang is widely known among Chinese, and the song has been a leading piece of anti-American propaganda by the CCP for decades. CCP propaganda has always referred to the Korean War as the “movement to resist America and help [North] Korea.” The message of the propaganda is that the US is an enemy — in fighting in the Korean War the United States’ real goal was said to be to invade and conquer China. The victory at Triangle Hill was promoted as a victory over imperialists. The song Lang played describes how beautiful China is and ends with the verse, “When friends are here, there is fine wine, but if the jackal comes, what greets it is the hunting rifle.” The “jackal” in the song is the United States.
In an interview with Phoenix TV (which has been described as being more faithful to the Chinese Communist Party than even state-run CCTV, according to Chinese media expert Anne Marie Brady), Lang said:
I think playing the tune at the White House banquet can help us, as Chinese people, feel extremely proud of ourselves and express our feelings through the song. I think it's especially good. Also, I like the tune in and of itself. Every time I hear it, I feel extremely moved.
I played the song in order to help us, as Chinese people, feel extremely proud of ourselves. Playing this song praising China to heads of state from around the world seems to tell them that our China is formidable, that our Chinese people are united; I feel deeply honored and proud.
Communicating to heads of state from around the world, including the President of the United States, that China is “formidable” is fundamentally nationalistic. And choosing to play the song at the White House in order to make the Chinese people feel “extremely proud” is an act of patriotism for a nation that gloats in the fact that its success and “gambit for world domination” is easily facilitated by American diplomatic and economic policies. Lang offered a quintessentially nationalist answer to the Chinese media, yet asserted the following, pleading innocent, when interviewed by National Public Radio:
The truth is, I only know this piece because it's a beautiful melody. And, actually, I played [it] many times as [an] encore before because it's, artistically, it's a beautiful piece. So for me, you know, to be invited to play at [the] White House is a great honor. To me, music is a bridge between our cultures.
Lang also attempted to portray himself as having affection and love for America in the NPR interview, despite his communist connections and his dubbing himself a “Citizen of the World” in his autobiography, Journey of a Thousand Miles: My Story :
And, you know, I have a really wonderful emotions towards American people. And ... a lot of my great friends, my teachers, are all from here.
So for me, you know, to be invited to play at White House is a great honor. And especially, you know, to play for [the] president of my homeland and also [for the president of] the country [in] which I live, which is America.
Experts believe this to be a pathetic attempt by Lang to deflect blame away from the reality and consequences of his actions. According to Zhang Kaichen, former Propaganda Liaison Director of the Shenyang Chinese Communist Party Committee:
This must have been planned and instigated by the Chinese regime. After Lang Lang received criticism, the CCP did not stand up to take responsibility but continued to push Lang Lang to the front of the stage to explain himself in those ridiculous, pathetic, and naïve words.
Lang Lang has enjoyed many benefits from living in a free society. However, he chose to stand on the side of the CCP, a regime that persecutes its own people, and it happened in the White House. It is a very shameful act. Playing these two anti-American songs at the state dinner communicates an angle, a feeling, and a mood that obviously carry a political intention. Especially in China, art serves politics. Whatever the CCP does is done with a political agenda. The objective for having Lang Lang play the ‘"ed songs" cannot be more obvious.
Adding to the fallaciousness of his weak explanation is the fact that Chinese communist Internet forums teemed with pride and happiness upon what they immediately perceived as an ultimate psychological victory for China against America; to them, this is a bloodless propaganda victory akin to the PVA victory on Shangangling Mountain.
Again, the The Epoch Times:
Because the meaning of this song is so widely known in China, the Chinese Internet is full of individuals expressing amazement that Lang Lang played it. The simple message “OMG” — “Oh My God” — expressed the shock of Chinese citizens at what is seen as Lang Lang’s arrogance. “Prof. A.,” writing on the website China Elections and Governance, laid out the alternatives as many see them: “If he knew the song’s background and still chose to play it, then you can guess his motivation or intellectual capacity. If he didn’t know, then mainland China’s education system is in more of a mess than I thought.”
The song’s powerful symbolism also has strong psychological and emotional potency according to Philadelphia psychiatrist Yang Jingduan:
“In the eyes of all Chinese, this will not be seen as anything other than a big insult to the US. This deeply anti-American chauvinism has been fanned by the CCP for years; Lang Lang is expressing the feelings of this generation of angry young people.”
The New York Post also reports that on some Chinese blogs, there has been “patriotic chest-thumping”: "'Those American folks very much enjoyed it and were totally infatuated with the melody!!! The US is truly stupid!!' wrote one blogger."
Wei Jingsheng, a dissident and pro-democracy activist persecuted by the Chinese government, wrote a letter to members of Congress and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton explaining the significance of Lang Lang’s performance, as published in The Tibet Post:
“The song is the leading anti-American propaganda by the Chinese Communist Party and it openly refers to the U.S. military as "wolves" and how the Chinese will use weapons to deal with them. Is that not an insult to the USA to play such kind of music at a state dinner hosted by the U.S. President? No wonder it made Hu Jintao really happy.”
The Chinese state-run news source Xinhua News has also reported on the incident, and propagandist Zhang Xiang gloats about the fact that America was duped into allowing such a performance:
“Pianist Lang Lang either pulled off a sucker punch or committed a diplomatic faux pas last week. He played a tune from a movie that has anti-American subject matter at the state banquet Obama gave to Hu, and exhibited the typical Chinese mentality of expressing oneself indirectly. If you want to criticize someone but cannot do it openly, you may have to resort to overtones, undertones and various figures of speech. There is no coincidence or over-interpretation. Every little gesture must be deliberate and conveys something deeper, as in this song from a movie about the Korean War, or what we call in China the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea, which has become increasingly popular among Chinese in the post-Cultural Revolution era."
He also says that the fact that the song was taken from a movie is no excuse to claim it was apolitical, noting that the Chinese Communist national anthem was a “militant marching anthem” taken from a 1935 Shanghai-produced film.
Gu Su, a philosophy professor at the University of Nanjing, asserts on his blog that the song was inappropriate for a state dinner with the United States, due to its content: "What if a similar scenario were to take place here, with the Americans playing anti-Chinese music in a similar occasion?"
Professor Zhan Jiang, who specializes in communication studies at the Beijing Foreign Studies University, admitted in the Chinese state news that the song is explicitly anti-American:
“Some Chinese Internet users overreacted by focusing only on the song's anti-US meaning, but the host should also be responsible if it is an unwise choice of a playlist, since details of the dinner arrangement are reviewed beforehand by the host.”
Yu Jianhong, director of the Movie Management Department of the Beijing Film Academy, also said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that although “love for the motherland” is the movie’s central theme, another important theme of the movie is “fighting imperialism.”
Further evidence from the Chinese media exists to corroborate the anti-American nature of Lang Lang's performance. A newspaper headline in The Beijing Evening News read, "Lang Lang Played ‘My Motherland’ at White House, Flaunting National Power."
A blog post at People's Daily Online said the following:
The highly-skilled [pianist from] 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." [As mentioned previously, the jackal refers to American troops during the Korean War, quoting the lyrics of "My Motherland."]
The power struggle on the black and white keys that Lang Lang played in 2011 was still 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 US General MacArthur.
The great powers’ fight will use both piano and steel. Neither can be neglected.
Another blogger, according to the Wall Street Journal, observed, "I think Americans should also be familiar with this song, whose meaning is so notorious that you don’t even need an explanation."
An op-ed written by liberal journalist John Sexton on the PRC-run China Internet Information Center, published under the auspices of the State Council Information Office, condemned those Americans who dare raise questions concerning Lang Lang's communist activities as "Tea Partiers":
After two years of Tea Partying, we should be used to the craziness of American right wing politics. But by fingering Lang Lang as a closet nationalist, or worse, a secret agent of the Chinese government, right wing commentators have reached new levels of absurdity.
U.S. right wingers tend to hate America's President much more than they hate any of its supposed foreign enemies. White House denials made no difference, as a growing cast of characters, including Fox News host Glenn Beck, announced themselves willing to be insulted on its behalf.
Sexton also connected the attacks on Lang to the horrific shooting in Tucson, AZ:
Permanently enraged young nationalists attacked Lang Lang, but the spat mainly reflects the increasingly unhinged nature of American political discourse. Before the recent shooting of Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, her image had appeared in the crosshairs of a gun sight on Sarah Palin's website. It is perhaps no wonder some Americans are attracted by extreme right wing rhetoric. It is in this context we should understand the irrational accusations against the harmless young musician Lang Lang.
Ignoring this explicit evidence, the Obama Administration continues to defend Lang Lang and stand by the decision to invite him to perform the song "My Motherland" at the White House.
Lang Lang is an acquaintance of Obama and mutual friend Oprah Winfrey, and he has previously performed for Obama on several occasions, including the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony. Xinhua News gloats that White House spokesman Tommy Vietor stated, “He played the song without lyrics or reference to any political theme. Any suggestion that this was an insult to the US is just flat wrong." Vietor and the Communist Chinese media are expressing fundamentally the same argument.
The Obama administration has included among its members Anita Dunn, former Communications Director, who has admitted to being a Maoist, claiming that Mao Zedong was one of two political philosophers from whom she gleamed inspiration, the other being Mother Theresa. The Obama White House also included on the White House Christmas tree an ornament bearing Mao’s countenance, a move that helps elucidate the ideological and psychological motivations for the White House sanctioning of the performance of a favorite patriotic war anthem of the Communist Chinese People’s Army.
Related article: Pianist with Communist Roots Plays at White House State Dinner
Photo: Chinese pianist Lang Lang