China’s Ministry of Culture announced it may punish individuals, groups and organizers who lip-sync or pretend to play an instrument in live commercial performances.
The ministry’s website noted that those who attempt to “cheat the public” would be punished, though specific penalties were not listed.
According to Agence France-Presse, the “semi-official” China News Service suggested that first-time offenders would be publicly exposed.
The Guardian reports that professional performers could have their business licenses revoked for multiple offenses in a two-year period.
A ministry representative said officials plan to consult the public before settling on final details.
Though lip-syncing celebrities are common, the most recent high-profile case occurred during the open ceremony of Beijing’s 2008 Olympics.
According to The Guardian, a more “photogenic” 7-year-old girl was swapped for the actual 9-year-old singer at the last minute.
However, since neither girl was a professional singer, the new law may not apply to a similar situation.
“China gets tough on singers who ‘cheat'”
Agence France-Presse, November 13, 2008
“It’s a crime to mime, China warns performers”
The Guardian, November 14, 2008