Is China's 2022 Winter Olympics song too much like 'Frozen's' 'Let It Go'?

Internet users have posted mash-up videos taking a few lines from each song.

Story highlights

  • Chinese Internet users say it sounds suspiciously similar to Disney's hit single
  • The songs share almost the same tune, length, tempo and instrument arrangement.
  • Users have posted mash-up videos of the two tunes on Youtube

Beijing (CNN)Did Disney's fictional snow queen of Arendelle help Beijing win its bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics?

Some Chinese Internet users seem to think so.
    They find "The Snow and Ice Dance," one of the 10 official songs Beijing used as a candidate city for the Games, eerily similar to "Let It Go," the worldwide hit belted out by the character Elsa in Disney's animated blockbuster "Frozen."
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    The allegations of plagiarism first surfaced last weekend in a web story published by leading Chinese business magazine Caijing, but the report has since been taken down. Re-posted versions on numerous other news sites, however, remain online.
    Quoting music fans, the Caijing report included a chart showing that the two songs -- especially in their prelude sections -- share almost the same tune, length, tempo and instrument arrangement.
    On YouTube, which is banned in China, several users have posted mash-up videos by taking a few lines from each ballad to form a new song.
    In those clips, the voice of Idina Menzel -- who played the character in the Disney movie -- and those of Chinese singers Sun Nan and Tan Jing sound remarkably harmonious together.
    The organizing committee of the Beijing Winter Olympics has yet to respond CNN's faxed questions. Disney officials were not reachable on Tuesday.

    Culture of counterfeiting

    The U.S. government has long cited China's weak protection of intellectual property as a major concern.
    Counterfeit American products spotted in China have included not only the likes of Coach handbag knockoffs, but also a fake Apple Store and an animation about automobiles featuring characters strikingly similar to Disney's "Cars."
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    The latest accusations against the Olympics song, though, have ignited a debate online.
    In the comment section to the story on the popular Sina News site, user @Huaxingdao called the alleged copying "shameless" and "leaving a bad taste in our mouths after the bidding victory."
    Others insist they hear no similarity between the two songs and that many songs draw inspiration from other musical work.
    "Don't toss around accusations of plagiarism so casually," said user @Shouguobuluo. "If you listen to Western pop music, there are plenty of Chinese elements in it as well."
    An alleged copycat song aside, Beijing -- as the host city -- faces more serious accusations that had dogged it during the bidding process for the Winter Games, including severe air pollution, deteriorating human rights and, perhaps most damningly, the lack of snow.
    For the last problem, at least, Queen Elsa -- who can produce ice and snow at will -- may be able to lend the Chinese capital a helping hand.