The composer of one of the official anthems of Beijing’s 2022 Winter Olympics is facing criticism over claims his song bears an uncanny similarity to Let it Go, the theme from Disney’s blockbuster film Frozen.
Zhao Zhao, an established songwriter who studied at the mainland’s top music school and has worked with artists including Placido Domingo, is credited with composing The Ice and Snow Dance, one of 10 slushy motivational ballads chosen to represent the Games.
Other tracks include Never Give Up, Snow Dream, and the chirpily named Welcome to the Great Wall for Skiing.
But, as Beijing celebrates being awarded the right to host the 2022 event, Zhao has found himself accused of plagiarism.
“Have you no shame?” read one of several hostile messages posted on the composer’s account on Weibo.
“Can you stop plagiarising?” wrote another. “You have shamed China.”
Dozens of negative comments in Chinese languages have also been posted under a YouTube video of the song in recent days.
“The plagiarism is very obvious,” said one. “This is an international sports event. If they can’t make their own music, they could at least hire some foreign producer to compose it.”
A second commenter fumed: “[China] has such a blatant plagiarism problem and yet they still want to host the Olympics.”
One blogger created a mash-up of the two songs in an attempt at proving the likeness.
The uproar over the alleged rip-off was such that even respected financial magazine Caijing waded into the debate.
“Some notes are almost the same as the opening line of Let it Go and the only difference is the tempo,” Caijing quoted one critic as saying.