The Premier and China’s Pursuit of the Olympics

Marcus P. CHU*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


Since the People’s Republic of China re-joined the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1979, Beijing, Harbin, and Nanjing have obtained the central government’s approval to bid for the Summer Olympics, the Winter Olympics, the Summer Youth Olympics, and the Winter Youth Olympics six times. Interestingly, Premiers Li Peng, Zhu Rongji, and Li Keqiang delivered words of support after Beijing’s applications to host the 2000 Summer Olympics, the 2008 Summer Olympics, and the 2022 Winter Olympics were initiated, whereas Premiers Zhu Rongji and Wen Jiabao remained silent after Harbin and Nanjing’s applications to host the 2010 Winter Olympics, the 2012 Winter Youth Olympics, and the 2014 Summer Youth Olympics were launched. Through reviewing key-players’ memoirs, official yearbooks, media reports, and scholarly works, this paper aims to explain the reasons behind the above inconsistency. Its findings conclude that domestic and international political factors consistently determined enthusiasm or indifference of the head of government towards these Chinese cities’ quest to host the IOC-governed sporting mega-events.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1880-1899
Number of pages20
JournalThe International Journal of the History of Sport
Issue number18
Early online date9 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

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  • China
  • the Premier
  • Olympic bids
  • words of support
  • odds of success


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