There is more to say, but what I'm most interested in here is the use of "Hmong Chinese" in the context of this article, which more closely resembles an advertisement (or at least a press release). Is it an example of a crafty businessperson trying to capitalize on the growing interest in Chinese music among Hmong Americans? Or is it someone who feels a close affiliation with their coethnics in China? Someone who is proud of the accomplishment achieved by one of their own? I don't know who wrote the article (or why), but a little digging on the internet shows that "Hmong" was probably tacked on to pre-existing material about Song Zuying.
The opening paragraph is copied from the Grammy press release, while the end of the article appears to be drawn from the article about her on All Music Guide (written by David Lewis). The key second paragraph that cites her ethnicity seems to be taken from an online article that is now only accessible through the Google cache of the page. The article, "Folk Singer Song Zuying: From Miao Village to the World Stage" is dated Dec. 21, 2006 and appeared on the website www.womenofchina.cn (it appears to be offline at the moment). According to notes at the bottom of article, it is the English translation of material drawn from two Chinese news sources: people.com.cn and sina.com.cn. The original paragraph reads:
Among this year's nominees was the celebrated Chinese folk singer, Song Zuying. Her CD "The Diva Goes to the Movies: A Centennial Celebration of Chinese Film Song" received a Grammy nomination for "Best Classical Crossover Album."This is identical to the article in Hmong Today, except that in transition the "celebrated Chinese folk singer" has become the "celebrated Hmong Chinese folk singer."
So to review - Song Zuying is described variously as Chinese, Miao, and Hmong. Such multiple identifications are not unusual for people from places like southern China - where ethnic identity is not so fixed as in West. But is she Hmong in the sense of "Hmong and Miao are all the same people" or Hmong in the sense of "a person of the Miao nationality who self-identifies in her home as Hmong." I'm not sure, but I would suggest that it is the former. As the womenofchina article states, she was born in Hunan in a stockade village. While several ethnic groups build communities in this style, I had never heard of Hmong people doing this. Also, looking at the costumes of people from similar villages - they appear to be more similar to Hmu outfits than Hmong. But, I could be totally wrong and in the end, it isn't that important. There are no definite answers to questions of identity and it certainly has no bearing on the quality of her work (which is outstanding [see recently sold out the Kennedy Center]). It is interesting to follow the lines of influence in redefining identity, however, and to ask why these changes take place.
Her music is certainly worth talking about and makes for an interesting comparison with Ayoudou. I'll try to get around to that next time. Until then, you can find her videos on YouTube or check out her fan website (in Chinese - works best in IE - no media files that I can find.)