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Paris Olympic Games mascots made in China, sparking criticism in France

The mascots for the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics will largely be made in China, despite the symbols being a point of French pride, and have now become the subject of criticism at a time of concern over countries becoming overly dependent on the second largest economy in the world.

The stuffed Phryges – soft, red smiling hats – are manufactured by the French companies Gipsy Toys and Doudou et Compagnie. They use fabric developed in the French region of Brittany, but the toys are mainly manufactured in China. Only about 8% of the mascot will be made in France.

French government spokesman Olivier Véran said the making of the mascots in China was due to a “structural problem”.

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Mascots from the 2024 Paris Olympics, right, and the Paralympic Games, a Phrygian cap, jump during a preview in Saint Denis, outside Paris.  The soft bright red cap, also known as the liberty cap, is an updated version of a conical hat worn in ancient times in places such as Persia, the Balkans, Thrace, Dacia and Phrygia, where the name comes from, in modern-day Turkey.

Mascots from the 2024 Paris Olympics, right, and the Paralympic Games, a Phrygian cap, jump during a preview in Saint Denis, outside Paris. The soft bright red cap, also known as the liberty cap, is an updated version of a conical hat worn in ancient times in places such as Persia, the Balkans, Thrace, Dacia and Phrygia, where the name comes from, in modern-day Turkey.
(AP)

“I would love it, and we are fighting for it, if we had enough raw materials and textile factories in France to make two million soft toys in a few months,” he told France 2 TV. “The fact is that today we don’t know how to do it.”

He added that the government is trying to relocate French companies that produce in China to ensure that “we can produce tomorrow what we can’t produce today”.

Summer games organizers 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 such as Persia, the Balkans, Thrace, Dacia, and Phrygia, a place in modern-day Turkey from which its name originates. It later became a symbol of the pursuit of freedom during the French Revolution.

The Paris Olympics will take place from July to August 2024 and the Paralympics in August and September. The sale of the mascots started on Tuesday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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