Sports

Everyone is Pissing Off China at the Olympics

The Rio Olympics used a bootleg China flag during a medal ceremony.
August 9, 2016, 3:58pm

The national flag of the People's Republic of China is a simple, stereotypically-communist affair: one larger yellow star off in the upper-lefthand corner flanked by four smaller yellow stars amid a bright red background. It would be pretty damn difficult to screw up the design.

Ah, but these are the Rio Olympics, where officials are still unsure if a kayaker was capsized by a sofa. They haven't met a simple organizational detail they couldn't screw up, and that includes flags. According to the Wall Street Journal, Olympic organizers have pledged to remove all traces of the misaligned Chinese flags that keep popping up during the Games, including at the Opening Ceremony parade and during the women's shooting medal ceremony.

In the standard Chinese flag (below), the four smaller stars are tilted toward the large star, which symbolizes the Chinese Communist Party. The flags in Rio (above) feature untilted stars. Angry Chinese fans took to Weibo and WeChat to vent their anger. (Twitter, Facebook and many other social media sites are banned in the country).

The wonky flag saga gets even stranger when you try to trace their manufacturing origins. Before the opening ceremony Chinese Central Television stated that, "…all the national flags that will be hoisted during the [opening] ceremony are made in China." Once the flag furor erupted online, Chinese diplomats filed a complaint with the Rio Olympic Committee, placing the blame on a non-Chinese contractor.

And if you thought that was the only Chinese flag-based controversy drummed up during the first four days of the Games, well you are sadly mistaken, my friend. Australia's Channel 7 caused an uproar during their medal count predictions when they swapped out China's flag for that of Chile.

Yet another channel 7 stuff up. Definatley not the Chinese flag on medal count@pm_live pic.twitter.com/hyjo1jL7JQ
— Mitchell Griffin (@MitchCamGriffin) August 6, 2016

At least the star angle was correct on this one! Australia's flag mix-up was a harbinger of one of the more heated swimming beefs of these Olympics, as Aussie Mark Horton called Chinese swimmer Sun Yang a "drug cheat" prior to a race.

The Chinese didn't take Australia's insults lying down. Shan Renping dropped the equivalent of a diss track in a Global Times editorial:

"We don't know if it is Horton who is silly or it's the Australian media that is evil, or perhaps Australia just has a different moral standard. The message sent is abnormal and aberrant.

It's not a big deal to us. In many serious essays written by Westerners, Australia is mentioned as a country at the fringes of civilization. In some cases, they refer to the country's early history as Britain's offshore prison. This suggests that no one should be surprised at uncivilized acts emanating from the country. We should think the same way."

Wowsers. At least Shan didn't say anything about Horton's mama.

Thus far, one of the main stories of these Olympics has been various countries pissing off the Chinese. France is probably next on the hit list, as French swimmer Camille Lacourt implied that Sun Yang "pisses purple" due to his drug use. Shan Renping is probably in the studio now working on a remix.