Politics and Beijing Olympics — Alternative Point of View

In China, raves on January 30, 2008 at 1:53 am

As the Beijing Olympics fast approaches, Western media organizations are quick to pull out the well-worn cliches about repressive regimes and the Olympic Games.

It is refreshing therefore to read this interview in the Seattle Times blog with Dr Susan Brownell, an American anthropologist who does research on sports in China and their connection with politics, culture and society.

You may want to read the entire interview but here are the two excerpts extracted by Danwei:

Politics, Beijing and the Olympic Games

What I find most interesting is Dr. Brownell’s proposition that major events like the Beijing Olympics are the accelerators of great change in China. This is a departure from the usual point of view that the staging of the Olympics is merely “window dressing” a great public relations push to present China in an acceptable light.

This is a perspective of someone who knows China well. Dr Brownell is a former athlete who has spent time living and studying in China.

But will her voice be heard amidst the din of China-bashing that has become “fashionable” in some media circles?

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