China dedicated to promoting Olympic values and culture

BY HUANG YALING | 02-25-2022
Chinese Social Sciences Today

FILE PHOTO: Bing Dwen Dwen and Shuey Rhon Rhon, mascots of Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games and Paralymic Winter Games

After more than 120 years of development, the Olympics have become a cultural legacy shared by the entire world. With athletics as the carrier, it constitutes a cultural landscape unique to modern society and influences the world with its distinctive cultural charm. Though China has a long and winding path of integration into the Olympic culture, the two are closely interconnected with one another, moving toward a better future with the common ideal of pursuing peace. 

Historic path 
With the outbreak of the Opium War, China in early modern times found itself powerless, and was once considered the Wimp of East Asia. When the Ninth Olympic Games were convened in 1928, the China National Amateur Athletic Federation (today’s All-China Sports Federation) dispatched Song Ruhai as a delegate to attend the opening ceremony of the then Amsterdam Olympic Games as an observer. 
In the initial period of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, socialist construction faced a hard situation both domestically and internationally. It was thus urgent for the country to display its national image by participating in international sport activities, particularly the Olympic Games, which could enhance its international identity and help better integrate the nation into the international community. In 1952, when the Helsinki Olympic Games was approaching, the Finnish government invited China to participate in the games, but the invitation letter from the chairman of the organizing committee was not received until the night before the opening ceremony. Despite the letter’s late arrival, and the fact that Helsinki was thousands of miles away, Premier Zhou Enlai weighed the situation and made a prompt decision to attend the Olympic Games. Although the delegates arrived in the host city after half of the games had taken place, the five-starred red national flag of China finally flew high in the sky above the Olympic Games arena. 
An active Olympic participant 
In October 1979, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) restored China’s legitimate seat according to the “One-China principle.” Since then, with the implementation of China’s reform and opening up policy, Chinese sports, ahead of other sectors, has been integrated alongside the trend of international development. 
As China’s comprehensive national strength was largely improved by the reform and opening up, the Chinese people began to perceive the world with a more confident and inclusive mind. Since the 1980s, China has participated in 10 Summer Olympic Games and 11 Winter Olympic Games. China has also been dedicated to carrying along the Olympic spirit and disseminating Olympic culture. 
China’s active participation in the Olympic Games is based on its recognition of the Olympic ideals and spirit. The Olympic Games allow different countries and ethnic groups to appreciate each other beyond their own national limitations, and have a new understanding of the cultural world outside of themselves. By carrying forward unity, friendship, and peace, the Olympics aim to eliminate estrangement and war between countries and nations. Both the “sacred truce” of the ancient Olympic Games and the “Olympic truce resolution” signed by countries today, all demonstrate mankind’s pursuit and yearning for a peaceful world.
The vision of “One World, One Dream” was voiced during the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, and the motto “Together for a Shared Future” was heard in the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games. Inheriting the legacy from our 2008 experience, the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games established effective communication and coordination mechanisms with organizing committees of other countries. Together they discussed pandemic control, games organization, and stadium operation with mutual benefits in mind. Beijing also drew experiences from previous Olympic host cities with an open mind. China also tries to alter the current imbalanced perception that the “summer Olympics holds a higher status than the Winter Olympics” with a shared vision. In addition, tourism expositions and folk ice and snow themed exhibitions have been held to enhance communications. 
Looking back, China’s history of participating in the Olympics is not only a process of exchange and mutual learning between the Chinese nation and the world, but also a process where China integrates itself into international society. With its far-reaching and profound influence on the world, Chinese culture also contributes to the diversity of human civilization. 
Huang Yaling is a professor from the Beijing Sports University. 
Edited by BAI LE