The resumption of China’s sovereignty over Hong Kong and Macau did not put an end to the territories’ historic international connections. As special administrative regions (SARs), they have remained active and visible in different global sporting arenas, except for one remarkable aspect – their niche in China’s multilateral sport diplomacy. Whereas Macau has been leveraged by the Chinese authorities to fortify ties with the Lusophone world, best exemplified in the Lusophony Games inaugurated in 2006, which the former Portuguese colony has participated in at every opportunity, Hong Kong has severed its ties with the Commonwealth Games entirely since handover and, driven by a desire to brand itself a global city hosting mega-sporting events, has attended only regional and global games of largely ‘depoliticized’ natures. This paper traces and explains the divergent development in view of China’s foreign policy and the political dynamics between Beijing and the two SARs, and argues that it was Beijing’s relations with the colonial powers and its foreign policy agendas that resulted in the different post-handover global sporting paths. The findings suggest the inextricably political nature of sporting games and reveal how inter-state diplomacy comes to shape the sporting development of cities like the two SARs. Copyright © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
CitationLi, Y.-w. V. (2016). Two tales of China’s sport diplomacy: Post-handover Hong Kong and Macau special administrative regions compared. International Journal of the History of Sport, 33(11), 1284-1302.
- Chinese foreign policy
- Commonwealth Games
- Hong Kong
- Lusophony Games