China Gold: China’s Quest for Global Power and Olympic Glory 路漫漫:从辉煌奥运到世界强国

Berkshire’s beautiful full-color paperback, China Gold: China’s Quest for Global Power and Olympic Glory, is the ideal book to use with students this year, because sports offer a fascinating window into China. China Gold can be used when teaching about relations between the USSR and China, and the opening-up of China in the 1970s. Extensive coverage of women’s and extreme sports allow for discussion of contemporary social issues, and there is extensive information on ancient and traditional sports and martial arts. Chapters are available online, with teaching guides for both high school and college classrooms, and the book itself can be purchased at a special member price. Quantity orders are available at up to 60% discount.

 Table of Contents

PART ONE: The Olympic Games, the Asian Games, and China’s National Games 奥运会、亚运会、全运会

PART TWO: Olympic Sports 奥运体育

PART THREE: The World of Sports 体育大世界

PART FOUR: Welcoming the World 奥运在中国

PART FIVE: The Olympic Ideal and the Three Themes of the Beijing Olympic Games 奥林匹克理想与北京奥运三大理念

Further Reading

About the Editors and Authors



Beijing lost its first bid for the Olympics to Sydney, but in 2001 the International Olympic Committee voted to award the Games to China. At last, said a student to a BBC reporter, “The world is embracing us.” As the Games approached, controversies broke out and that embrace seemed at times to change into crossed arms and mutual recriminations. Bringing the Olympics Games to Beijing was first discussed in China one hundred years ago, and Part One of China Gold tells the story of a century of development and challenge, of war and revolution, and of an enduring commitment to build (and rebuild) a nation that could participate on the global stage with stunning athleticism, as well as politically and economically. The Olympics of 2008 have great symbolic importance, and to understand this, we look at China’s participation in the Asian Games, as well as the Olympics, and at the National Games which have been an essential proving ground for Chinese athletes.


China is known for its successes at table tennis, diving, and gymnastics, and it has been particularly successful in badminton, weight lifting, and shooting. Beyond these key sports, much effort has been made in recent years to develop boxing, tennis, baseball, canoeing and kayaking, and athletics — there’s even considerable effort going into the development of cricket, a sport of mind-¬boggling importance in India and other British Commonwealth countries, many of which have close economic ties with China. The next chapters take an in-depth look at several of China’s most popular sports, their origins and cultural significance, and provide insight into Chinese history; they look as well at some of today’s top athletes. Sports that are not covered in separate chapters are nonetheless mentioned in sidebars and tables.


The Olympics are larger than life, but the values and aspirations we celebrate every four years (and in between at the Winter Games) are part of our daily lives, too. Sports reflect our ideas about achievement, community, competition, fairness, and equality. The popularity of different sports and the way they have spread around the world helps us to understand different cultures and see how nations have influenced one another. Martial arts are not only practiced in Asia but they have developed into sophisticated forms there and then spread around the world. Women have made enormous strides in sport since the founder of the modern Games said, “Women have but one task, that of crowning the winner with garlands,” but in every country this development has taken a different shape. This section of China Gold explains some of the unique aspects of sports in the Middle or Central Kingdom 中国, which include not only the picturesque practices of tai chi but also “disco dancing” (popular with the elderly), the growing popularity of extreme sports, and even luxury Western sports like golf.


Olympic Games often transform their host cities, and Beijing has indeed undergone a dramatic and perhaps long-lasting “makeover.” Its Olympic Green, the central area for the Olympic contests, now boasts a massive National Stadium. Known as the “Bird’s Nest,” this architectural wonder seats 120,000 people. After the Games, the Green will serve as a cultural and commercial center with conference facilities, shopping, and sporting events. Western Beijing—once a belt of pollution-spewing steel plants—is now the location of Olympic shooting ranges, indoor cycling, and a basketball stadium. Construction, tourism, and changes to the city’s infrastructure, among other factors, have been estimated to bring an additional $13.2 billion and 1.82 million jobs to Beijing. But the Olympics are certain to have more than an economic impact on the city—and on China itself. Part Four of China Gold looks at how Beijing and other Chinese cities have prepared for the Olympics. It considers as well the impact the Games will have on a nation that welcomes to its shores 300,000 tourists from overseas—and some 20,000 foreign journalists—while the whole world watches.


In the 112-year history of the modern Olympics, the Games have been criticized and even boycotted for different reason, but our enduring love of sports and abiding desire to see countries come together in peace tends to trump political disagreements. The 2008 Games are unique in Olympic history because they are being held in a country poised to rise to new prominence on the global stage. The Olympics are a creation of Western civilization, but as China resumes a bigger international role, these Games — only the third to take place in Asia — give it a chance to integrate some of the Olympic ideals into its perspective on global leadership and also an opportunity to influence an event that has unique meaning for many people around the world.