Academic journal article Asian Social Science

National Identity in China - Contribution from the Beijing Olympic Games? A Survey among Residents of Beijing

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

National Identity in China - Contribution from the Beijing Olympic Games? A Survey among Residents of Beijing

Article excerpt

Abstract

This article is dealing with the consequences of Beijing 2000 Olympic Games for the host city population and focuses primarily on three areas of expectations and impact: (1) On China's international reputation; (2) On enhancing national pride, social and national identity, and (3) On the impact on the "individual self" and how BOG may give personal benefits. To separate the consequences in this way, between the impact on "international", "national," and "personal" matters, is particularly interesting in a collectivistic or interdependent culture such as traditional China. Nearly 1000 residents of Beijing have filled in a questionnaire or been interviewed. The sampling technique was a combination of quota and random sampling. The results showed that the international influence is expected to be significantly greater than the national governmental influence, and greater than the influence on the common people as a group. Older residents of Beijing focused significantly more than the younger residents on the international and national consequences, whereas the younger generation focused more on individual consequences and personal benefits. The great majority of the respondents expect the Beijing Olympics to enhance China's reputation internationally and improve international relations. The support and expectations from the Chinese people for utilizing the Beijing Olympics as an instrument to reach such goals and to promote international cooperation are stronger than in other host cities and countries.

Keywords: Olympic Games, China, national identity, personal benefits

1. Introduction

This article aims to identify, review, and examine the host city residents' perceptions of expected impacts from the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games (BOG). We focused on what the Chinese looked forward to and expected to happen for the nation, for the Chinese people, and for themselves. The expectations were coloured by the immense positive prospects among the Chinese toward the Games. The whole nation was enthusiastically behind Beijing's application for hosting the 2008 Games. Zhou & Ap (2009) documented that over 95% of the Beijing residents supported the Games. The Beijing Olympic Bid Committee claimed a 94.9% public support in Beijing (Tang, 2001: 13), whereas the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) poll showed a 96% support in urban areas (IOC, 2001: 60), illustrating a significant public support for the prospect of organizing the Beijing Games. Previous studies among other host city residents have also revealed great enthusiasm and support for the Olympic Games, but never to the same extent as among the Beijing residents (Karakatsoulis, Michalopoulus & Moustakatou, 2005; Waitt, 2003).

Mega events such as modern Olympic Games have the potential to influence the host nation and its inhabitants in many ways. The residents of the host city have expectations about benefits for their nation, their city, as well for their families and themselves as individuals. This study focuses primarily on three areas of expectations and impact: (1) On China's international reputation and how the country and its culture is evaluated abroad, which is termed "international consequences"; (2) On China as a nation, enhancing national pride, social and national identity, and support of the government. This factor, called "national consequences," is divided in two categories: (a) consequences for the government, the State, and the organized China; and (b) consequences for the Chinese people, especially the "common people"-the majority of the Chinese who most residents in Beijing feel affiliated to; (3) On the individual or "private" Chinese, the impact on the "individual self" and how BOG may give personal benefits to themselves and others. To separate the consequences in this way, between the impact on "international", "national," and "personal" matters, is particularly interesting in a collectivistic or interdependent culture such as traditional China (Triandis, 1993) . …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.