Skip to main content

National Image Management Begins at Home: Imagining the New Olympic Citizen

  • Chapter
Soft Power in China

Abstract

The Chinese government seized on the 2008 Olympic Games as an opportunity to present a new and vibrant China to both its citizenry and the world. This chapter examines how China used the Games as a moment to stress the “civilizational” value of Chinese culture to its people and, in tandem, to promote what are deemed good civilized manners among its citizenry. It was part and parcel of the government’s effort to showcase a better image of China. As Beijing Mayor Wang Qishan remarked, “We have to have a good Olympics, otherwise not only will our generation lose face, but also our ancestors.”1 In this chapter, we analyze the Chinese government’ s visual promotional materials (e.g., posters) and Olympic manuals for volunteers and taxi drivers to map out the different discourses on the civilized behavior expected of its people during the Games.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Chapter
USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
eBook
USD 84.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book
USD 109.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info
Hardcover Book
USD 109.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others

Note

  1. Quoted in Pallavi Aiyar, Smoke and Mirrors: An Experience of China (New Delhi: Fourth Estate, 2008).

    Google Scholar 

  2. Julia F. Andrews, Painters and Politics in the People’s Republic of China 1949–1979 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994);

    Google Scholar 

  3. Stephanie Donald and Harriet Evans, ed., Picturing Power in the People’s Republic of China: Posters of the Cultural Revolution (Boulder, CO: Rowman and Littlefield, 1999);

    Google Scholar 

  4. Stefan Landsberger, “The Deification of Mao: Religious Imagery and Practices during the Cultural Revolution and Beyond,” in China’s Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution: Master Narratives and Post-Mao Counternarratives, ed. Woei Lien Chong (Boulder, CO: Rowman and Littlefield, 2002);

    Google Scholar 

  5. Stefan Landsberger, “Harmony, Olympic Manners and Morals: Chinese Television and the ‘New Propaganda’ of Public Service Advertising,” European Journal of East Asian Studies 8, no. 2 (2009): 329–353;

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Stefan Landsberger, Marien van der Heijden and Kuiyi Shen, Chinese Posters: The IISH-Landsberger Collections (Münich: Prestel Verlag, 2009);

    Google Scholar 

  7. Mingxian Wang and Shanchun Yan, Xin Zhongguo meishu tushi: 1966–1976 [The Art History of the People’ s Republic of China: 1966–1976] (Beijing: Zhongguo Qingnian Chubanshe, 2000).

    Google Scholar 

  8. Arjun Appadurai, Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996), 7.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Manuel Castells, “End of Millennium: The Information Age,” Society and Culture, Vol. III (Maiden: Blackwell, 1998).

    Google Scholar 

  10. Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities, rev. ed. (London: Verso, 2006).

    Google Scholar 

  11. Michael Billig, Banal Nationalism (London: Sage, 1995), 6.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Volunteer Guide, Olympic, Manual for Beijing Olympic Volunteers, ed. Beijing Olympic Games Volunteer Work Coordination Group (BOGVWCG) (Beijing, China Renmin University Press, 2007), 99, http://en.beijing2008.cn/volunteers/ (accessed January 15, 2008).

    Google Scholar 

  13. Michel Foucault, “Governmentality,” in The Foucault Effect: Studies in Governmentality, ed. Graham Burchell, Colin Gordon, and Peter Miller (Sydney: Harvester and Wheatsheaf, 1991), 91.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Stefan Landsberger, “Learning by What Example? Educational Propaganda in Twenty-first-Century China,” Critical Asian Studies 33, no. 4 (2001): 541–571.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Ann Anagnost, “The Corporal Politics of Quality (suzhi),” Public Culture 16, no. 2 (2004): 189 -208;

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Andrew Kipnis, “Neoliberalism Reified: Suzhi Discourse and Tropes of Neoliberalism in the People’s Republic of China,” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 13 (2007): 383–400.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Yongqi Shi, Aoyun liyi, [Win Manners Win Games] (Beijing: Beijing Daxue Chubanshe, 2006).

    Google Scholar 

  18. Beijing Municipal Transportation Administration Bureauand BeijingChinese-GermanSafe-Driving Technology Development Co., Ltd., Aoyun Beijing Dishi Zhangzhongbao [Olympic Beijing Taxi Palm Book] (Beijing: Beijing Municipal Transportation Administration Bureau and Beijing Chinese-German Safe-Driving Technology Development Co., Ltd., 2007).

    Google Scholar 

  19. Anna Greenspan, “Melamine and Milk in Modern China,” in China in 2008—A Year of Great Significance, ed. Kate Merkel-Hess, Kenneth L. Pomeranz, and Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom (New York: Rowman and Littlefield, 2009), 32.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Ella Shohat and Robert Stam, Unthinking Eurocentrism: Multiculturalism and the Media (London: Routledge, 1995).

    Google Scholar 

  21. Mikhail M. Bakhtin, The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1981).

    Google Scholar 

  22. Partha Chatterjee, The Nation and Its Fragments: Colonial and Postcolonial Histories (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993);

    Google Scholar 

  23. Prajensit Duara, Rescuing History from the Nation: Questioning Narratives of Modern China (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997);

    Google Scholar 

  24. Vivienne Shue, “Legitimacy Crisis in China?” in State and Society in 21st-century China, ed. Peter Hays Gries and Stanley Rosen (London: Routledge, 2004), 24–49.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality: An Introduction (London: Vintage, 1980), 95.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Authors

Editor information

Jian Wang

Copyright information

© 2011 Jian Wang

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

de Kloet, J., Chong, G.P.L., Landsberger, S. (2011). National Image Management Begins at Home: Imagining the New Olympic Citizen. In: Wang, J. (eds) Soft Power in China. Palgrave Macmillan Series in Global Public Diplomacy. Palgrave Macmillan, New York. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230116375_7

Download citation

Publish with us

Policies and ethics