BEIJING (Xinhua): An animated giant panda named Bing Dwen Dwen and a red lantern baby called Shuey Rhon Rhon have been unveiled as the two mascots for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The mascots, revealed on Tuesday night at Beijing's Shougang Ice Hockey Arena, are strongly associated with the host nation's culture.
Among those attending the launch ceremony were Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng, who is also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, and International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach.
Explaining the idea behind the two mascots, Beijing 2022 executive president Chen Jining said: "The two mascots combine elements of traditional Chinese culture and a modern international style, as well as emphasising the characteristics of ice and snow sports, and those of the host city.
"They vividly show the Chinese people's eager expectations for the Beijing Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, and China's warm invitation to friends from all over the world."
According to Chen, who is also Beijing mayor they were designed to express the full spectrum of the Olympic spirit, encompassing traits such as passion, perseverance, friendship and mutual understanding to engage the public.
IOC President Bach expressed his delight at the design of the Olympic mascot.
"From what I have seen, I can say that it is a great choice.
"The mascot incorporates the best elements and characteristics of China and the Chinese people," Bach said at the ceremony.
"It will be a wonderful ambassador for China and the Olympic Games Beijing 2022," he added.
Appearing via video link, International Paralympic Committee President Andrew Parsons said: "It's a mascot that represents a Chinese lantern, but also represents the Chinese New Year.
"It's a message of the future to the future generation of Chinese people who will be inspired by the amazing faith of the Paralympic athletes."
The giant panda, which will be the Olympic mascot, is often regarded as a symbol of China. Its helmet is also indicative of the snow and ice of winter sports.
The name "Bing Dwen Dwen" is a combination of several meanings in the Chinese language, with "Bing" the Chinese word for "ice", and "Dwen Dwen" meaning robust and lively.
The Paralympic mascot choice of the lantern is seen as "symbolic of harvest, warmth and light".
In the name "Shuey Rhon Rhon","Shuey" is the Chinese word for "snow" and "Rhon Rhon" has the duel meaning of tolerance and integration.
Today's launch sees the end of a submission process which began on August 8,2018 and saw more than 5,800 design proposals from China and abroad.