The rise of China and the 2022 Beijing Winter Games

April 2024 – With Gladys Pak Lei Chong I have a new article on the 2022 Winter Olympics in Inter-Asia Cultural Studies Volume 25, 2024 – Issue 3. The article, titled “Be strong, be confident: the rise of China and the 2022 Beijing Winter Games” can be downloaded here.


Drawing on promotional materials in 2007–2008 and in 2021–2022, this article examines both Olympics to explore how the state has evolved in its governmental rationalities, and the related cultural and political implications. The 2022 Winter Games, despite its comparatively low profile and challenges posed by Covid-19, provided the Chinese state with a key moment to advance its confidence doctrine. Three discourses were mobilised pertaining to, first, the CCP’s superb leadership and problem-solving skills; second, China’s mega-infrastructure; and, third, created + made in China. The 2022 Olympics thus mobilised three confidence-driven discourses: leadership confidence, techno-scientific confidence, and creative confidence. In doing so, the 2022 Olympics envisioned, narrated, and materialised the popular discursive signifiers – technology, green and sustainability, and the future – the authorities already actively promoted in its political initiatives and policies. This contributed to the inward-oriented beliefs of self-reliance and self-improvement. Where we witnessed in 2008 a sense of curiosity and openness, within China and the world at large, we now face the complexities, dangers, and cultural essentialism, if not narcissism, of a confident China.