Posted August. 16, 2008 07:17,
○ Cheap flags made in China dominate
On the eve of the nations 63rd Liberation Day, national flags were in short supply in several retail toy chains in Seoul.
About 100 wholesale stores were crowded in this area, but the Korean flag was available in a handful of shops. This was in stark contrast to the situation last year, when the national flag was flown by all of the retailers.
One store owner Park said, The national flag isn`t selling these days so few retailers are stocking them. The flags being sold now are leftover stock from last year.
Most Korean national flags sold in this area were made in China. A clerk at a wholesaler said, Flag manufacturers outsource to China due to high labor costs. In particular, flags sold on a large scale were most likely produced in China.
Against this backdrop, a significant volume of the flags fail to meet regular standards. For example, most cheerleading flags are made of low-quality nylon, instead of fabric, worth around 200 to 300 won. Coarse printing often overlaps a blue and red yin-yang circle and each black trigram in each of the four corners fails to match standards.
Flags displayed at home are often featured with poorly manufactured knobs and flagstaffs. The knob should be shaped like the bud of rose of Sharon and colored gold. The flagpole also should be made of solid materials colored white, silver-white or light green. Nevertheless, most flagpoles are made of fragile plastic without flag knobs.
One flag manufacturer executive said, No one dares to produce high quality flags because everyone looks for the cheaper ones. We used to produce good quality products worth 10,000 won, but make only much cheaper ones worth 3,000 won these days.
○ Neglect of the national symbol
Many experts say the peoples indifference to the national flag is mainly responsible for the negligence of the national symbol.
Public awareness of the flag has heightened due to the Korean flag hoisted upside down on a flagpole in Beijing`s main Olympic stadium. Many experts say Chinese-made substandard flags are rampant on the Korean market.
An online flag distributor said, Most Koreans think the flags are distributed free so they dont want to purchase them. Fortunately, social groups and businesses place flag orders for public relations, but they tend to look for cheaper ones. No one cares about where they are made or quality.
Some say people should use flags made in Korea that meet certain regulations. In the United States, campaigns have sought to promote flags made in America. For instance, the Minnesota state legislative passed a law last year requiring all U.S. flags sold in the state must be made domestically.
Korea National Flag Information Service President Lee Rae-won said, "We should take more interest in this issue since it involves our national pride. We should no longer let poorly made Chinese flags dominate Korea.