The song was featured in 1956 in "Battle on Shangganling Mountain", a Chinese propaganda movie about the Korean War, and is famous within China for stirring anti-American sentiment. Lang Lang, who lived in China until the age of fourteen, can henceforth count himself as one of millions of Chinese fallen victim to Communist Party manipulation; and they in turn must be so proud of their little comrade.
When asked whether he had wanted to "drop a note of nationalism" into the state dinner, Lang Lang feigned innocence, claiming it was "the last thing he wanted to do". However, during an earlier interview with Hong Kong's Phoenix TV broadcast in China he claimed the opposite, saying he had wanted "to help us, as Chinese people, feel extremely proud of ourselves."
Lang Lang later posted the following on his blog: "Playing this song praising China to heads of state from around the world seems to tell them that our China is formidable, that our Chinese people are united; I feel deeply honoured and proud." The word ‘formidable' stands out here as an arrogant assertion of China's imperialistic new attitude to the outside world.
The young pianist is apparently unaware that translators exist to decipher his comments from Chinese into English.
The news received a mixed reaction in China, with some expressing shock and many more displaying an aggressive nationalistic perception of superiority and anti-American sentiment, which must have had CCP propoganda officials proudly celebrating their own victory: that over the minds of Chinese youth.
Lang Lang's song choice earned him a surprising hug of gratitude from the Chinese President, who is usually reknowned for his reserved and cool demeanor, but who was obviously so pleased at the smug insult to his American hosts that he couldn't resist.
In the words of Chinese dissident Wei Jingsheng in a letter to the US Congress and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, "The song is the leading anti-American propaganda by the Chinese Communist Party.(...) Is that not an insult to the USA to play such kind of music at a state dinner hosted by the US President? No wonder it made Hu Jintao really happy."
It has been pointed out that the State Dinner was a meticulously planned event, for which every detail was carefully reviewed by both sides. Hu, in that case, would have known about the song choice before the dinner, and still allowed it to be played. It is clear from the actions of organisers, and the immature attitude of the Chinese in matters of diplomacy, that the country is not yet ready to sit at the big table with developped nations. It would appear the CCP, like the song, is still stuck in the 1950s and wrapped up in outdated ideologies.