China weighed in on Monday with a heavy dose of sarcasm regarding the recent controversy over U.S. Olympics team blazers, suggesting that perhaps members of Congress should be banned from wearing anything or using any product that has been manufactured abroad.
Calling out the outrage from lawmakers, Xinhua said the Olympics is about sports, not politics, "but these U.S. politicians are going too far and trying to force a political tag onto the uniforms."
"I think they should take all the uniforms, put them in a big pile and burn them and start all over again," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters on Thursday after a tweet from U.S. Olympics runner Nick Symmonds highlighted that the uniforms made by Ralph Lauren Corp. (NYSE: RL) were made in China.
This is the third year that the New York-based clothier has designed the Olympics uniforms and had them produced in China, and Xinhua blamed current political wrangling and the upcoming presidential election as the reason why this has just now become an issue.
Ralph Lauren Statement
The company issued a statement Saturday saying it was proud of its role in making the uniforms and that its brand embodies "the best of American quality and design rooted in the rich heritage of our country. The company also said it was committed to taking a lead role in the industry "to address the issue to increase manufacturing in the United States." It also pledged to make the 2014 uniforms in the U.S.
Recently, six senators, all Democrats, have pledged their support for a bill to ban the manufacture abroad of uniforms used in ceremonies such as the Olympics.
"If there is anything that should be burned, it should really be the hypocrisy of the U.S. politics," said the Xinhua report. "By criticizing Ralph Lauren for outsourcing jobs, the politicians attempted to reap political gains by portraying themselves as a champion of insourcing U.S. jobs so as to attract greater support among U.S. voters."
Presumptive Republican Party Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney has been hit recently over his role in moving jobs overseas at Bain Capital. Romney had repeated said he would hit China on its trade and currency policies.
So how are the Chinese uniforms being made? In China, of course.
The mainland's uniforms are being done by Olympian Li Ning, according to a report on the Olympics blog of the International Herald Tribune, while the Hong Kong uniforms were designed by Fila Korea Ltd. (Seol: 081660).
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