Posted by: Ian Ross | February 25, 2008

China Struggling To Shine In Olympic Spotlight

logo_beijing_400.gifHosting the Olympic Games is a great opportunity for a country to shift world perception about its role in the world. When China won the 2008 Summer Games, its leaders said they wanted to show how it is now a peaceful, moderizing world leader. Erasing the images of Maoism and the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre were a priority.

It appears China’s PR campaign (run in part by Hill & Knowlton) is struggling to get traction. Problems include:

  • The torch relay will be interupted and some athletes will train in red, green and black headbands (Sudan’s national colours) in protest of China’s ties with the Sudanesse government.
  • Stephen Speilberg has also quit as artistic advisor for the opening and closing ceremonies due to the situation in Sudan.
  • Prince Charles and many others have spoken out against the country’s handling of Tibet.
  • The architect of the $440 million Bird’s Nest stadium will not attend the Oympics because of the “disgusting” political conditions in the one-party state.

In addition, there are other campaigns targetting the country’s dislocation on Beijing’s poor (to make room for Olympic development), crackdowns on the Fulangong spiritual movement, tense relations with Taiwan, censorship and human rights abuses.

It will be interesting to see if China shifts some of its domestic or foreign policy with the Olympic media spotlight burning down bright on it. Or if the country tries to continue talking its way around the issues.


  1. […] The PR wheels carrying the Beijing Olympics appear to have completely fallen off. Since I first blogged about China’s communication struggles surrounding the Summer Games, things have gotten […]

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