8/28/2008

As a political statement the Beijing Olympics had mixed results

Mixed political results from the Beijing Olympics

Having held the world's attention for the past 17 days, Beijing symbolically handed the Olympic flag to London in a closing ceremony on August 24th. As a sporting event the Games were a huge success—particularly for China, which topped the gold-medal table by a wide margin. But the government's success in achieving its political objectives was mixed.

Billed as China's "coming-out party", the Beijing Games were meant to burnish the country's image both at home and abroad by showcasing the country's remarkable achievements over the past three decades. There is little doubt that this message came across loud and clear domestically, helping to cement the loyalty of China's citizens. The popular legitimacy of the Chinese Communist Party increasingly derives from its ability to deliver material prosperity and international prestige, and the Olympics showed that the regime is capable of marshalling extraordinary resources and determination—and that China commands international respect. Beijing's spectacular opening and closing ceremonies, state-of-the-art venues and flawlessly organised sporting events all underlined the country's extraordinarily rapid re-emergence as a great power. ...



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