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A Hong Kong Protest-Themed Cake Was Disqualified From a UK Baking Competition

Decorations included a protester with a yellow umbrella, a large Guy Fawkes mask, and a bauhinia flower.

by Lia Savillo
05 November 2019, 4:44am

Photo from 3rd Space cafe Instagram

This article originally appeared on VICE ASIA.

As The Great British Bake Off proves, baking contests are best when their polite, friendly, and open. But an international cake show in the United Kingdom became the unlikely site of a political controversy on Friday, Nov. 1, when an exhibitor brought a cake inspired by Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests.

The dessert was presented at Cake International, the “world's greatest cake show," in Birmingham, U.K. and featured decorations like a tiny protester with a yellow umbrella and a large Guy Fawkes mask. It also had a pretend record player and vinyl record designed with a bauhinia, the flower featured on Hong Kong’s flag. A video by its creator, Hong Kong bake shop 3rd Space, shows the record revolving while the protest song “Glory to Hong Kong" plays. Liquid nitrogen also swirled from behind the umbrellas to look like tear gas.

Not everyone was pleased.

Organisers disqualified the entry from the event after complaints, with some even “threatening to damage the piece,” according to a statement from Cake International.

3rd Space said organisers informed them that the complaints came from mainland Chinese competitors, RTHK reported. In response, it accused the contest of hypocrisy in an Instagram Story.

However, the event’s organisers denied that this was an act of censorship and said in its statement that the cake also broke other rules, like going over the allowed area because umbrellas were perched on its edge.

“Cake International is an inclusive community and welcomes entries from across the world, this competition entry was not removed as a political statement but was disqualified as a direct result of it not being made in line with our competition schedule,” the statement reads.

“We appreciate that this situation is sensitive and there are many passionate views across the world, our decisions are based purely on what is in the best interest for the cake decorating community and not as a statement of our beliefs or opinions.”

Cake International is not new to politically-themed cakes. There was also a cake at the event that featured United States President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un dressed as babies, with a decorative bomb.

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