Greetings, roundeyes. The People's Republic of China hopes that you are enjoying this most thoroughly authentic of Olympic experiences. We're very proud of our most perfect fireworks in the clear Beijing sky, the beautiful little girl who sang our national anthem, our team of 16-year-old gold medalist gymnasts, and our rich ethnic history displayed in the opening ceremonies.
[The children] were dressed in costumes associated with the country's ethnic minorities, including those from troubled areas such as Tibet and the muslim province of Xinjiang… But the children were all from the Han Chinese majority, which makes up more than 90 per cent of the population and is culturally and politically dominant, according to an official with the cultural troupe from which they were selected…
The official guide to the opening ceremony said that the children did not just represent but "came from" China's ethnic groups. "Fifty-six children from 56 Chinese ethnic groups cluster around the Chinese national flag, representing the 56 ethnic groups," it said.
Yeah, apparently this is tradition in China. Non-minorities dressing in the minorities' traditional garb as a way to "honor" the culture. We have that in America, too. It's called "blackface."