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Flawed Chinese flag raised at the 2016 Olympics

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On the second day of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, the Chinese media reported that a flawed flag had been raised during the swimming and shooting medal ceremonies. 

The mistake was first noticed by Chinese internet users who commented on the unusual position of the flag’s stars. The correct Chinese flag features one large yellow star, surrounded by four smaller stars which form a semicircle around it. However, in the flag raised at the Olympics on Monday, the small stars appeared to be vertically placed, rather than being tilted. As a result, a complaint to the Rio Olympics organisers was issued by the Chinese media.

The Chinese Olympic Committee is reportedly working with the Rio 2016 Committee to understand what went wrong. Their procedure requires all flags to be pre-approved by their national committees. It is not yet known at what stage the mistake was made. 

Whether or not flags are accurately displayed may in fact have diplomatic consequences. At the London Olympics in 2012, a women’s football match between North Korea and Colombia was delayed by an hour after the South Korean flag was wrongly displayed next to the names of the North Korean players. The Olympic organisers subsequently apologized to the North Korean athletes for this regrettable mistake.

More than 200 nations are competing in this year’s Olympic Games. No other printing faults in the national flags have been observed.

Image: Geoff Burke, USA Today Sports

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