The prehistory of the 2022 Beijing Games

Much has been made of the “diplomatic boycott” by the United States and its allies of the 2022 Beijing Olympics. But what much of the major Western media coverage misses is the historical and geopolitical significance of these Games to China – as one of only three Asian host nations for the Olympics (along with Japan and South Korea), and the first Global South country to host the Winter Games.

The countries boycotting the 2022 Olympic Games, it seems, see this moment and the history that underpins it as threatening to their global hegemony in both sport and geopolitics.

In 1949, the Communist Party of China decisively prevailed over Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang (KMT) after 22 years of civil war, forcing the latter to flee to Taiwan. The founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) brought a definitive end to a “century of humiliation” inaugurated by the First Opium War, which had seen colonial powers reduce China to the “sick man of Asia.”

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