Although the Summer World University Games has not gained a high popularity in China, Chinese cities, nevertheless, have been keen bidders for the hosting rights. Shanghai lost the first one in 1989, whereas Beijing and Shenzhen won the next two in 1998 and 2007, respectively. This article examines the motives behind the Chinese cities’ intense desire to host the Games. The following analysis illustrates that the eagerness to be the hosts was more than about enhancing the status and prestige of the cities, but supporting the broader strategic goals of the Chinese central government, including boosting the economic reform and defending the ‘One China’ principle. This article concludes that all Chinese cities’ bids for international mega-sports events deserve critical scholarly scrutiny, as each of them sheds important light on the domestic politics of the country as well as its international relations.
Copyright © 2013 Taylor & Francis
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