When millions straggled back to work in China after the New Year festival, they found that the natural order had been overturned and Lang Lang was no longer the most famous pianist on the planet. He had been overtaken on Weibo – Chinese twitter – by arch-rival Yundi Li, though not necessarily for the highest musical reasons. Our China correspondent Rudolph Tang reports:
War of terror in Chinese social media
Yundi is increasingly criticised in China for his controversial piano playing, alleged involvement in sexual scandals and a lack of artistic character. Fans believe the criticism is being manipulated by rival pianists or agents. Hence the mounting war.
On the personal front, Yundi was divorced in November 2012 from his politically powerful wife. He has since become friendly with a male pop singer from Hong Kong named Lee-Hom. The fuse was lit up when Yundi and Lang Lang both appeared on the same magician’s show on Chinese New Year Eve on China Central Television Channel One.
Yundi was playing a baby grand behind a white screen. He stopped playing and stretched out his head looking around. The magician asked what he was looking for. Yundi murmured into the magician’s ear. The magician said “Oh, you are looking for Lee-Hom.” Then the screen was dropped and Yundi disappeared from the stage. He was found sitting in the auditorium. That fragment, viewed as a major scandal, was removed from re-broadcasts. Lang Lang, an hour later, accompanied some dancers from the keyboard an hour later, without incident. Here’s the Yundi footage: