Foreign Policy Blogs

Going for Gold


We've all read that Beijing is bringing its A-game for the upcoming Olympic games. As a major milestone and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to show face as a key international player, the country is busying itself with strategic preparations to deliver an effective and meaningful sale this summer.The number 8, when pronounced in Mandarin (ba), rhymes with the pronunciation of the word for fortune (fa), which makes it particularly auspicious and dear to the Chinese. It is no coincidence that the date of the opening ceremony is set for 08-08-08, or good fortune x 3 when loosely translated into English.

It is this very east-meets-west sensibility that is coming into play as Beijing finds ways to present its life/country/culture so that when interpreted by Western eyes and ears, is met with a warm – and even pleasantly surprised – response. Ironically, China is looking abroad for ideas and techniques to ensure their tourists are met with comfort and luxury. On the agenda:

  1. Address investigations that China is the biggest importer of steroids consumed by the US since its crackdown on Mexico (a hot and timely topic recently propelled by Mitchell, Olympic veterans Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Marion Jones, Sly Stallone, the list goes on.)
  2. Ensure sufficient accommodations (renovate, build, grow!) for its visitors
  3. Train chefs to create palatable options for tourists
  4. Research tools to control environmental precipitation for opening night
  5. Regulate factors impacting air pollution, such as vehicle production and traffic
  6. Perform wide-spread education campaigns for the local Chinese, to make the city more welcoming and palatable (spitting etiquette, Chinglish clean-up)
  7. Aggressively employ Western-style branding* with the games and all of its products [Enter: Friendlies mascots Bei Bei, Jing Jing, Huan Huan, Yin Yin, and Ni Ni, or Beijing Huan Yin Ni = Beijing Welcomes You]friendlies-small.jpg
  8. Mass advertise to the world using the techniques, drama, and theatrics familiar to American entertainment and media.  What is more telling of China's spirit, unity, and omnipresence than this Adidas commercial?

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* Coca-Cola, Hewlett-Packard, Mattel, Motorola, Foxconn, Nike, Novozymes, Bayer, Genencor, APCO, Shell are examples of global brands participating in this event