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Emerging Negative Soft Power: The Evolution of China’s Identity in the 2008 and 2022 Beijing Olympics Opening and Closing Ceremonies


By hosting the Olympics in 2008 and 2022, Beijing became the first city to organise both the Summer and Winter Games. These events offered the People’s Republic of China (PRC) an opportunity to present itself to the world and enhance its attractiveness. However, between the two editions, Chinese self-perception has experienced significant transformations, as has its vision of the world, resulting in the national attitude shifting from adaptation to, to contestation of pre-established norms and paradigms. The symbols, images, scenes and discourses exhibited during the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing 2008 and 2022 Olympics mirror the broader international communication strategies deployed by the PRC under the Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping presidencies as part of their implementation of negative soft power.
Keywords: China; Olympics; soft power; contestation

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