Chinese Olympic sport policy: Managing the impact of globalisation

Tien Chin Tan, Barrie Houlihan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


The article examines the extent to which, and the manner in which, the Chinese government managed its relationship with the Olympic movement following its re-engagement with international elite sport competition in the mid 1970s. Locating the analysis in the literature on globalisation, the article notes the limited research exploring the role of the state in managing the relationship between domestic and global sport. Based on extensive document analysis and interviews, the article provides an analysis of the governmental strategy to increase Chinese influence in the Olympic movement, produce a strong national Olympic squad of athletes and ensure success at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. It is argued that the Chinese state was not only effective in organising and concentrating resources to support its policy objectives, but was also able to incorporate aspects of market capitalism into its elite development system and, so far at least, generally manage effectively the tensions that arose from an increasingly wealthy, mobile and individualistic cohort of elite athletes and coaches.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-152
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Review for the Sociology of Sport
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Apr


  • China
  • Olympic movement
  • elite sport policy
  • globalisation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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