Lang Lang the pianist says he chose it. Chairman Hu Jintao recognized it as soon as he heard it. Patriotic Chinese Internet users were delighted as soon as they saw the videos online. Early morning TV viewers in China knew it would be played an hour or two beforehand. At the White House State dinner on Jan. 19, about six minutes into his set, Lang Lang began tapping out a famous anti-American propaganda melody from the Korean War: the theme song to the movie “Battle on Shangganling Mountain.”
The film depicts a group of “People’s Volunteer Army” soldiers who are first hemmed in at Shanganling (or Triangle Hill) and then, when reinforcements arrive, take up their rifles and counterattack the U.S. military “jackals.”
The movie and the tune are widely known among Chinese, and the song has been a leading piece of anti-American propaganda by the Chinese Communist Party (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 United States 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 Lang played describes how beautiful China is and then near the end has this 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.
Who is handling protocol at the White House these days? Who will take responsibility for maintaining the dignity and honor of the White House and the office of the President?
Do you think that the person that approved this propaganda music is the same person that authorized the President to give the Queen of England an iPod loaded with show tunes, and the Prime Minister of England a pile of DVDs that don’t work in UK DVD players? Would it be the same person that allowed a professional skateboarder to disrespect the White House by skating through the halls?
Although Obama hasn’t seemed to care about these constant embarrassments, we as Americans should. Allowing a foreign musician to insult us at a White House event is beyond reproachable. I suggest that the White House consider replacing all staff responsible for event planning and protocol immediately.
UPDATE – January 25th 2011 -
The Obama administration has come out to defend the pianist! The Blaze states:
White House spokesman Tommy Vietor told ABC News that “any suggestion that [the song] was an insult to the United States is just flat wrong.”
“As Lang Lang has stated before, he plays this song regularly because it is one of his favorite Chinese melodies, which is very widely known and popular in China for its melody. Lang Lang played the song without lyrics or reference to any political themes during the entertainment portion of the State Dinner. He simply stated the song’s title and noted it was well known in China,” Vietor said.