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The People’s Republic of China’s ‘Green Medal Strategy’: Environmental Discourse during the 2008 and 2022 Beijing Olympic Games within the Soft Power Arena


Addressing environmental concerns and hosting ‘green’ Olympic Games played a major role in shaping the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) soft power strategy for both the 2008 and 2022 Olympics, although in significantly different ways. Critical discourse analysis suggests a number of tensions and changes in the narratives related to environmental matters built around the two events. Firstly, an analysis of the narratives related to air pollution and artificial snow demonstrates strong differences between the Chinese and Anglophone media discourse. Secondly, the political shift that occurred between 2008 and 2022 – from Hu Jintao to Xi Jinping – is reflected in the different environmental discourse and practices developed by the PRC during the two Olympics: from compliance with international standards to the (self-) elevation as a global leader in environmental sustainability.
Keywords: China; Olympic Games; environmental sustainability; soft power; green medal; discourse analysis

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