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For Lang Lang, anti-U.S. song had nothing to do with politics

In the aftermath of criticism over a song perceived as anti-U.S., pianist Lang Lang has issued a formal statement explaining his reasons for selecting the song to perform at the White House gala for China president Hu Jintao.

The statement was issued on Tuesday through New York public relations firm Keith Sherman and Associates.

Lang said, "It was my great honor to be invited to perform at the White House.  I played two pieces - one was from Europe and one was a beautiful traditional melody that I grew up with called 'My Motherland.'  I am an artist first and foremost. I selected this song because it has been a favorite of mine since I was a child. It was selected for no other reason but for the beauty of its melody. As an artist, I use music to bring people together. I truly consider both America and China to be my homes and I wouldn't be who I am today without both countries."

The significance of 'My Motherland' came to light after The New Epoch Times, a China indie newspaper, shed light on the meaning of the song. The paper is critical of China's  policy on human rights. The US Report featured a story about the incident in an earlier column. 'My Motherland' is the theme song from a China-made movie about the Korean War.

Lang is a young man, and the Korean conflict is rarely taught in depth in schools today. The war was devastating for both sides. The St. Petersburg Times, in a special report, said, "There were 33,741 U.S. battle deaths among the U.S. service members serving in the war theater, according to Defense Department figures as of March 15, 2003. Another 2,835 died of non-battle causes, bringing the total dead to 36,576." Those losses came on the heels of US losses in World War II.

Hundreds of thousands of South Koreans were also killed or wounded. SPT said, "On the communist side, more than 400,000 Chinese soldiers and nearly 215,000 North Korean soldiers were killed."

War was technically not declared by the US Congress. Democrat Party president Harry Truman with support from Congress sent troops via what he termed a "police action."

Some pundits analyzing Lang's performance have questioned why there was no protocol in place for screening beforehand at the White House.

Additional Reading

Korean War Oral History Interview
First Lieutenant Thomas Martin
US Army, 2nd Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division
Site: National Guard Militia Museum of New Jersey

(Filed by Kay B. Day/Jan. 25, 2011)


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    these songs today transcend their historical context and are in praise of our homeland, the Chinese people’s pride in self-sufficiency

Reader Comments (1)

Lang Lang grew up in China and this song "My Motherland" has been used for decades for propaganda and to depict how the Liberation Volunteer soldiers of the Communist China would defeat US invaders.

Lang Lang is an artist and he has to know the background of his music in order to play it well.

The Communist Party has placed this song as one of the top 50 pro-communism songs that all children must learn in current schools in China. Every Chinese knows this song by heart.

Lang Lang dares not admit that he knows the background of this song. He can fool Americans, but he can't fool Chinese.

Besides, all the songs Lang Lang wanted to play had to be censored by the Chinese officials.
January 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersheila
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