Public diplomacy strategies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2012 London Olympics: A comparative study

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Abstract

The various ‘global events’ China has hosted in recent years, most notably the Beijing Olympics, have sparked debate on the country's projection of soft power and invited easy conclusions that China's global public diplomacy has successfully seduced the world via its rich traditional culture and astounding modernisation. A comparison with the London Olympic Games, however, would suggest otherwise. Not only do the two Games differ in relation to the cultural ingredients combined to create overarching themes, they also reveal divergent public diplomacy strategies pursued by the host countries and cities. China's well-orchestrated and nearly infallible debut reveals its adherence to a top-down centre-driven approach that seeks to project the values and messages desirable to the governing authorities. The British approach, in contrast, transcends the elitist tendency by involving a wider set of actors within and without the government for clauses that extend past elites' interests. As a result, although London's Games were less ‘speculator’ than those in Beijing in presentation, the former's public diplomacy legacy may prove more lasting and likely to gain the admiration of the rest of the world. Copyright © 2013 Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1723-1734
JournalThe International Journal of the History of Sport
Volume30
Issue number15
Early online dateJul 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2013

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diplomacy
China
traditional culture
Olympic Games
projection
modernization
elite
event
Values
Group

Citation

Li, Y. W. (2013). Public diplomacy strategies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2012 London Olympics: A comparative study. The International Journal of the History of Sport, 30(15), 1723-1734.

Keywords

  • Public diplomacy
  • Beijing Olympics
  • London Olympics
  • China
  • UK