The Beijing Olympics political impact and implications for soft power politics
Granger, Megan M.
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In the lead up to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, many commentators and scholars debated the potential impact of the Games in China. Some theorized that hosting the Games would lead to greater freedom and possibly democracy in China's political life. While the media debate focused on the optimistic possibility for change, scholars were more skeptical about the outcome. In the debate, the 1988 Seoul Games were used as an example of the power of the Olympics to change a nation. Aside from Korea and China being located within the same region, there are few similarities between the two nations. In order to assess the lack of positive political change resulting from the Beijing Games, this thesis reviews the political history of the Olympic Games, the controversial selection of Beijing as host city, and the policy changes that resulted from the Games. While it is clear that Beijing's hosting of the Olympics stimulated political consequences in China, the event in the near term did not increase freedoms or a propensity for democratic governance. In conclusion, this thesis evaluates the possibility of long-term change as a result of the Beijing Games.
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