Date
28 July 2017
An incorrect Chinese national flag has been used eight times at the Rio Olympics awards ceremony and during the parade of athletes, causing a furor in China. Photo: USA Today
An incorrect Chinese national flag has been used eight times at the Rio Olympics awards ceremony and during the parade of athletes, causing a furor in China. Photo: USA Today

Rio organizers rush to replace flawed China flags

Rio Olympics organisers will replace the Chinese flags after finding a design flaw that caused fury in China.

A spokesman said the erroneous design had been approved by Chinese officials but a Brazilian manufacturer is rushing to produce the correct flags.

The discovery that the four small, golden stars on the Chinese emblem are pointing upward rather than toward the bigger star sparked recriminations among patriotic Chinese.

“We do understand that there is a problem with the flag. It’s very small,” said Games spokesman Mario Andrada.

“You have to be very familiar with the Chinese flag to understand that. However, we need to correct it.”

Flag-bearer Lei Sheng carried the erroneous Chinese standard at the opening ceremony., and by early on day three the Chinese flag had been hoisted eight times in honour of medallists from the country.

By early on day three, the Chinese flag had been hoisted eight times in honor of the country’s medalists.

The design of the Chinese flag is highly symbolic, as the bigger star represents the ruling Communist Party and the smaller ones demonstrate its support from China’s four classes — workers, farmers, urban petite bourgeoisie and national bourgeoisie.

China’s consulate general made a formal complaint to the organising committee, who took the problem to the company that made the flags.

“Yesterday we managed to contact the company who produces the flags and they are producing a bunch of flags with the correct design now. The first flags should be delivered here shortly,” Andrada said.

“But it’s important to emphasise that while we’re not happy with this situation, the flag as it was approved by the Chinese authorities based in Brazil. We are working quickly as possible to replace the flags.”

One Chinese internet user accused organisers of a “plot” against China, while another said they hold “evident hostility” to the country which hosted the 2008 Olympics.

The Chinese have cut an unhappy camp in Rio, with several athletes complaining about conditions at the athletes’ village and the foreign ministry warning of “frequent” theft in the Brazilian city.

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CG/RA

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