Page last updated at 17:11 GMT, Thursday, 4 December 2008

Lip-synch ban for China TV gala

Yang Peiyi  (L) and Lin Miaoke
A miming controversy befell the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony

China has banned lip-synching from the nation's biggest TV show, held to celebrate Chinese New Year.

The broadcasting regulator has ordered organisers to pick "real" singers and songs with "healthy" lyrics.

The CCTV Spring Festival Gala attracts hundreds of millions of viewers with comedy sketches and patriotic-themed song-and-dance routines.

China was embarrassed by a lip-synching child who performed at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games.

Officials decided that the actual singer, a seven-year-old with crooked teeth, wasn't pretty enough to be put on view.

Instead a nine-year-old girl who was deemed to look more suitable mouthed along to a recording, charming a worldwide audience and earning the title of China's "smiling angel".

That was not the first time lip-synching had made the headlines in China.

At last year's Spring Festival Gala, actress Zhang Ziyi was criticised for miming her way through her performance in the patriotic, star-studded TV extravaganza.

This year, China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television has issued an order on its website to "Choose performers with real singing ability."

The announcement follows last month's news reports that the Ministry of Culture would revoke the licences of professional performers who are caught lip-synching it twice during a two-year period.

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