Beijing: Flawed Chinese national flags were recurringly displayed at the Rio Olympics till the penultimate day of the Games when another faulty flag was raised at the medal ceremony to crown Chinese women’s volleyball team, angering Chinese officials and Internet users.
A Chinese national flag with incorrectly oriented stars was raised at the ceremony on Saturday when the Chinese women’s volleyball team claimed the top spot on the podium, state-run China Central Television (CCTV) reported.
Song Yang, the Chinese consul in Rio de Janeiro, immediately lodged a formal complaint with Rio authorities and expressed strong dissatisfaction with the incident, it said.
In response, a Rio organising official claimed that correct Chinese flags had been manufactured and sent to all venues last week and promised to hold a mass meeting to apologise to the Chinese government and the Chinese people.
Chinese netizens first pointed out that incorrect Chinese flags were being raised at Olympic award ceremonies during the Games’ first weekend.
The four smaller stars on the flags were parallel to each other, instead of pointing toward the centre of the larger star.
“Another wrong flag? Can we not just compete in a good mood?” wrote Huang Xiaoming, a Chinese actor who has 49 million followers on his Sina Weibo account, on the microblog.
Over 10,000 Weibo users had commented on Huang’s post, with most echoing the views of one who said, “The incident is unbelievable and unforgivable, since the correct flags were made and sent to the venue last week… Rio Games organizers are the worst in Olympic history,” state-run Global Times reported.
Zhao Dongming, the former cultural section chief of the Beijing Organising Committee for the Olympic Games who was in charge of medal ceremonies at the 2008 Beijing Games, was highly critical of Rio organisers.
“Apparently there is no supervision and checking system at the Rio Olympics, even after the incident sparked wide criticism and reached the level of a diplomatic incident more than ten days ago,” Zhao told the Times.
“Rio seems to be missing the importance of Olympic awards ceremonies, which represent respect for the athletes and where they are from,” he said.
Zhao claimed that the major misstep is the inevitable result of a series of mistakes made by Rio authorities at all levels, and he requested that the Brazil National Olympic Committee handle the issue with a responsible attitude and officially apologise to China.
New Chinese national flags with correctly oriented stars reportedly were made by a Brazil-based company and were set to be delivered to every Olympic venue in Rio de Janeiro on August 11, as a result of several complaints lodged by the Chinese team and China’s Rio consulate.