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Olympic mascot cakes land Chinese bakers in trouble

BEIJING (AFP) – Chinese bakers looking to cash in on the popularity of the Beijing Winter Olympics mascot have ended up on thin ice after market authorities cracked down on sweet treats shaped like the cartoon panda.

Officials cited licensing concerns for their swoops on the gastronomic homages to Bing Dwen Dwen.

Generally depicted in a full-body ice suit, Bing Dwen Dwen has sparked long queues at Olympic souvenir shops – with many willing to fork out more than the official price to get their hands on one amid shortages. While its name officially means ‘ice child’ in Mandarin, this is more colloquially translated as ‘ice chubster’. It is often seen alongside Shuey Rhon Rhon, mascot for the Winter Paralympic Games.

Authorities have said they are investigating several businesses using the Olympics symbol without permission. One bakery in the southeastern province of Jiangsu was reported for advertising cakes shaped like the rotund panda, and lacked “relevant authorisation”, local officials said last Friday.

“A six-inch cake in the shape of Bing Dwen Dwen was found at the scene… the parties made three such cakes, worth CNY600 (USD94),” said the market supervision administration in Nantong city. State media said authorities had received a “tip-off” about the alleged crime.

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