Sport, Revolution and the Beijing Olympics

By Grant Jarvie; Dong-Jhy Hwang et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 2
Sport, Physical Culture and Western Faith Invaders

Introduction
The introduction of certain sports into China was influenced by the influx and diffusion of Western power in China. Western powers such as Britain, France and the United States of America have all attempted to consolidate their political, economic and religious foothold in China. Following the Opium Wars of 1839–1842 and 1856–1860, treaties were signed between China and imperialist countries, and major ports such as Shanghai, Ningbo, Fuzhou, Amoy, Canton, Tianjin and Hankou were opened to the West. Missionaries and merchants were granted the right to travel and purchase both property and land. The importing of opium was legalized, many foreign goods became exempt from the transit tax (lijin) and several Western countries received a substantial war indemnity from China. The Chinese government paid 21 million dollars to Britain as part of the Nanking Treaty of 1842; further significant payments were also negotiated with both Britain and France as part of the Beijing Treaty of 1860, while a further 333 millions dollars was paid to the Allied Powers as part of the Boxer Protocol of 1901. The Chinese regarded the negotiation of these treaties as being preferable to military confrontation with the Western powers.Western imperialism has often been highlighted as a historical dynamic that has influenced the development of sport and physical culture in China. It is impossible to provide an exhaustive list of the ground that has been covered by researchers into areas such as sport, imperialism and the body, but it is crucial to realize that some of the orthodox questions have still to be tested against different forms of evidence from different time-frames and places. In providing a brief insight into one place between the period from 1860 to 1911, the material provided in this chapter is organized into the following sections.
'Sport, the West and China', establishes the fact that Western sports were imported into China during this phase of development;
'Exercise, physical culture and reform in China' reflects upon some of the factors influencing the development of Chinese physical culture;

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