Susan Brownell, a frequent commentator on the Beijing Olympics, has a useful article up on Japan Focus looking at the Olympics in East Asia perspective. I tried to do this in a more limited way last year; her article is much more comprehensive. This, I feel, is an especially interesting observation:
"Western observers tended to dismiss Beijing's Olympic education as just another nationalist propaganda campaign, but I believe they were missing the important point: true, one major goal was patriotic education – but as in Tokyo, the old nationalist symbols were re-shaped by association with symbols of internationalism, the global community, and world peace. This is the paradox of the Olympic Games – they reinforce nationalism and internationalism at the same time. Perhaps the national identity itself is not greatly changed, but it is an important shift in orientation if the holders of that identity start to see their nation as an equal partner among friendly nations instead of a victimized nation among hostile nations."
Worth a read.
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