‘Made in China’ labels on Paris Olympic mascots spark outcry

© Christophe Ena, AP

The choice by Paris 2024 Olympics officials to represent the Games with a cuddly Phrygian cap is proving a harder sell than expected, after critics pounced on the fact that French firms will make only a small fraction of the toys.

Unveiled on Monday, the red triangle mascots named the Phryges are meant to symbolise the French Revolution, when anti-monarchists often wore the cap that is nowadays seen on the Marianne icon of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity in nearly all public buildings.

But even though two French toymakers got the contract, the Paris Olympics committee said just eight percent of the mascots will be made in France -- from Chinese-produced materials -- and the remainder outsourced to China.

The Ethic business owners' association denounced "an insult to all French companies" and said there was still time to produce the millions of toys at home.

"I would love to, and we're working so that France can have the raw materials and textile factories for making two million dolls in a few months, but the fact is that today we cannot do it," government spokesman Olivier Veran said on Thursday.

"It's a structural problem due to the fact that for years, France has lost its factories," he told France 2 television.

Climate activists also contrasted the pollution that will be generated from shipping the toys to France with the government's pledge to take stronger action against global warming.

France's environmental transition minister, Christophe Bechu, called the decision to outsource "a problem".


Read more on FRANCE 24 English

Read also:
Phrygian cap symbolising French republic chosen as 2024 Paris Olympics mascot
France to deploy 35,000 guards with 600,000 expected for Paris Olympics
Paris to revamp the famed Champs-Élysées ahead of 2024 Olympics