The voice of Beijing Games mascot Bing Dwen Dwen was accidentally revealed on February 8.
The mascot spoke during an interview with Chinese freestyle skier Yang Shuorui.
Chinese social media users expressed alarm at the mascot’s gruff voice, which sounded like a middle-aged Chinese man.
Chinese social media users have expressed dismay after the voice of the Beijing Games’ popular mascot, Bing Dwen Dwen, was accidentally revealed to be that of a gruff, middle-aged man.
Last Tuesday, the mascot was heard speaking during a video interview by state broadcaster CCTV with Chinese freestyle skier Yang Shuorui. Towards the end of the session, Bing Dwen Dwen was heard telling Yang to take care of herself.
Many Chinese viewers were shocked to hear the rotund, fluffy mascot sounding like a middle-aged man with a northeastern accent and took to Weibo — China’s Twitter-like platform — to express their dismay.
“This is the end of my fantasy. The adult world has no room for fairy tales,” read one of the top comments on the video from a Weibo user named LingYun ShiHan.
“I don’t find Bing Dwen Dwen cute anymore. It’s an old man! I’m saving my money,” read another comment from a Weibo user with the ID Great-Annie.
Another Weibo post seen by the South China Morning Post said, “People don’t want to know that when they hug Bing Dwen Dwen, they’re holding a strange man.”
According to SCMP, the Chinese authorities have censored negative posts about the mascot and have taken down a Weibo hashtag linked to negative comments on Bing Dwen Dwen.
The Beijing Games’ art director Lin Chunzhen clarified in a February 13 interview with ShanghaiEye that the mascot’s design does not include a voice.
“At the beginning of the process when we designed this auspicious mascot, we strictly obeyed the rule that the mascot character should not have a speaking voice,” Lin told the media outlet. “It can make squeaky noises, but it can’t speak.”
Gruff voice or no, Bing Dwen Dwen has been a top seller in the Beijing Games, with people queuing in the capital’s icy cold for hours to pick up prized merchandise. The Bing Dwen Dwen souvenirs have been re-sold online for as much as $500, roughly 17 times their retail price.
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