The mascots for the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics will be made mostly in China, even though the symbols are a source of French pride, and have now come under fire at a time of concern about nations turning too dependent on the second largest economy in the world. .
The stuffed Phryges, soft red smiling hats, are made by the French companies Gipsy Toys and Doudou et Compagnie. They use fabric developed in the Brittany region of France, but the toys are mostly made in China. Only about 8% of the mascot will be made in France.
French government spokesman Olivier Véran said the manufacturing of the mascots in China was due to a “structural problem”.
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“I would love it, and we are fighting for it, if in France we could have enough raw materials and textile factories to make two million stuffed animals in a few months,” he told France 2 TV. “The fact is that, to this day, we don’t know how to do it.”
He added that the government was trying to relocate French companies that produce in China in an effort to ensure that “tomorrow we can produce what we no longer know how to produce today.”
Organizers of the summer games said they focused on choosing a mascot that represented an “ideal” rather than an animal or creature.
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The Phrygian cap is an updated version of a conical hat worn in ancient times in places like Persia, the Balkans, Thrace, Dacia, and Phrygia, a place in present-day Turkey from which the name originates. It later became a symbol of the quest for freedom in the French Revolution.
The Paris Olympic Games are scheduled to take place from July to August 2024 and the Paralympics will take place in August and September. Pet sales went on sale Tuesday.
Associated Press contributed to this report.